There are going to be Christians and non-Christians in America. Nominal Christianity has no future now that various cultural props are gone.
Christians will have to be disciples of Jesus, not members of clubs based on old ethnic, neighborhood and family functions.
Which means that along with the intensified pain of all the change and marginalization, we stand to gain the intensified power and joy that come with discipleship.
If someone had told me years ago that an Episcopal minister would lay this out in this stark of terms, I wouldn’t have believed them. But believe it, both what he says and that he said it.
The sad truth is that this has been coming for a long time. A good deal of it stems from the fact that we have turned from a “bottom-up” culture to a “top-down” culture, and our top secularised first. Some attribute that to education, some to science and some to exposure to the world, but personally I think it’s simpler than that. The God that sent his Son (and we’re supposed to be celebrating that about now) is and has been for a long time a competitor to those who “rule the roost” in this society. So those of us who come from places like Palm Beach (as opposed to the likes of Rod Dreher, who moved back to his small town Louisiana roots) have experienced the first assault, and now it’s percolating down the “food chain”.
The roost rulers, IMHO, are about to lay an egg with this country, but getting people to believe that isn’t easy. In the meanwhile those of us who believe that Jesus is Lord but Caesar is not (to use N.T. Wright’s phrase) are going to either be the serious ones or find ourselves on the dark side. The box checkers (to use a Catholic phrase) will disappear from our pews (or chairs).