"What would it mean for Christians to rediscover their faith not as a problematic system of beliefs but as a just and generous way of life, rooted in contemplation and expressed in compassion?” McLaren asks in “The Great Spiritual Migration.” “Could Christians migrate from defining their faith as a system of beliefs to expressing it as a loving way of life?
What astounds here is that neither Mclaren nor Kristof seem to know that this question has already been soundly answered. What would it mean to “rediscover” the faith in this way? Why, it would mean just what has happened over the last hundred years in American religion. It would mean mainline Protestant traditions reinventing their doctrine to comport with strict materialism or vapid spiritualism, colonizing divinity schools with sociologists, and preaching social action as a substitute for doctrine.
What has been the result of this “rediscovery?” Here, we have the benefit of some hard numbers to go along with the history. The degree to which these churches have “rediscovered” their faith in this way seems to determine how rapidly their membership has declined."