Christianity beyond Churchianity

The report of Russians returning to religion, but not to the Church is based on three surveys conducted in 1991, 1998 and 2008, by the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). It is reliable data. This phenomenon may disturb some members of the clergy: their prestige, power and income will go down. To me it is a healthy development: people moving towards Christianity which itself is moving away from Churchianity. When we are Churchians, our focus is on our church, its clergy and their rituals. We tend to be confined to our compound. When we become Christians, our focus is the Kingdom of God, which was also the focus of the life and ministry of Jesus. Then we have no compounds but open space. We move towards and interact with people of good will. Then we are less occupied with empty rituals and have more time for actions that promote human wellbeing. We spend less time, money and energy on cult, and make our resources more available to the needy. We need not worry if our churches are empty, provided we have good Christians, disciples of Jesus. We should worry when our churches are full but we have few Christians.

Subhash Anand
St Paul’s School, Bhupalpura, Udaipur