Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to header Skip to footer



From the October 2008 issue of The Christian Science Journal

When my brother-in-law and his wife lived in Saudi Arabia a few years back, they wanted to attend a Protestant church there, the particular denomination not being of great importance. They lived in a compound that was virtually a city unto itself separate from the general Saudi population and included several Christian churches. To my in-laws' surprise, they discovered that they couldn't just "go" to church. They had to be on a waiting list! All the Christian churches in their compound were full, and until a family from one of the churches transferred out, there simply was no place to join fellow Christians in worship.

In the United States it's easy to take for granted that anyone can attend church, while in some countries around the world, Christians, as well as adherents of other faiths, are still persecuted and even killed for daring to practice their religion. Thinking about those unable to attend church, I can't help but consider how important commitment to church is.

We live in a period of changing attitudes and loyalties regarding the institution of Church and our responsibility toward it. According to a March 2008 Gallup survey, only four out of ten Americans attend church on a weekly or near weekly basis, while 61 percent report being members of a church or synagogue. The current trend in religious practices in the United States could be characterized as "deinstitutionalized spirituality." Growing numbers of Americans are turning away from congregational contact and commitment. They're not rejecting religion itself, but are finding new ways of exploring and investigating spirituality, often through the Internet.

Sign up for unlimited access

You've accessed 1 piece of free Journal content


Subscription aid available

 Try free

No card required

More In This Issue / October 2008


Explore Concord—see where it takes you.

Search the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures