I appreciated hearing from the inventive pastor of a downtown Amsterdam church today named Henk Leegte. He was helping us Mennonite World Conference attenders figure out how to be the church in a postmodern and postChristian context, like the Netherlands (and probably like the U.S. if we don’t pray up the alternative).
He named some reasons the Dutch have overwhelmingly deserted the church in all its forms.
- The scandals in the catholic Church
- Hypocrisy among church leaders and members
- Fear mongering preaching by Dutch Calvinists, especially
- The charitable aspects of society used to be funneled through the church. But the government took that over after WW2 and that function of the church is now part of the state.
- They just don’t care. The people are not bad, unethical or uncompassionate; they just don’t care about the church. 60-70% don’t even know what Christmas and Easter are all about, anymore; they still are holidays, but they don’t mean anything Christian. Strangely enough, the Dutch all do one religious thing every year. At some time they go listen to Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion. Go figure.
What does this church do to connect?