Waiting for the big one....
23% of Americans don't identify themselves as belonging to a church. When that number hits 59%, we'll be back where we were in 1906. Call me then.
As for "Nones," I found this post with remarks by Robert Wuthnow, the expert's expert on church and sociology. We should listen to him.
Yes, these are "stories to watch." But the earth is not shaking, the tectonic plates are not rapidly moving; this is just life as we know it. Life doesn't stand still. And those church pews have been emptying since I was a kid; any day now they'll empty out completely. Any day now.... (The general consensus in seminary was that there was a post-war peak in church attendance, and we've been returning to status quo ever since. Funny thing is, church affiliation (if not attendance) rose steadily through most of the 20th century, and took its biggest jump between the 40's and the 60's, then went up again between the '70's and the '80's. Somethin's happenin' here; what it is, ain't exactly clear.)
As for "localization of church," all I get from that is that the Protestant model continues apace, and the dissolution of denominations continues, too. Again, a 50+ year old trend that keeps trending. What else do we need to watch? Paint dry?
And as for story no. 5, about urban ministry going mainstream, I like the comment to the post: "Any thoughts about congregations in rural or semi-rural settings?" Because from where I sit, while they seem to be constantly ignored, the rural voters in Texas seem to constantly maintain control of the political process. Might also explain why so many states consistently vote GOP; or, as we used to put it, that might get closer to what's the matter with Kansas.
We've been pushing the importance of the cities for most of my life, too. How is it any different to now notice there are actually urban ministries and they're "mainstream"? Maybe because they're white.....?
Or is that not still what's meant by "mainstream"?
Like I said: call me when something new and different happens.