Present Evolution of the Protestant Church
Unfortunately, I was not able find someone to interview on the changes of the Catholic church since the meeting of the Council of II Vatican, so I had to substitute for someone who is equally wise about changes within the Protestant church over the past fifty years. The person whom I asked is my aunt who is 54 years old recollects church membership since the age of 6, so I trust her as a viable source.
“Politics in the Protestant church have changed tremendously in the last fifty years” says my aunt. Most apparent to her was the increase in women’s leadership. You now see women pastors, assistant pastors, deacons and so forth. She says that the church was once an organization that was known for being called “The Good Old Boys’ Club”, but now it’s the “Good Old Boys’ and Girls’ club. She is a Minister of Music, so she gets to go a lot of different places (inside and outside of the country) to observe these things. She says that churches have become “growingly woman and gay friendly.” She once attended a church by the name of The Open Door whose services were particularly dedicated to sharing God’ with those other than heterosexual without singling them out, but accepting who they are and making the church a community for them outside of their condemned community for by their sexual preferences.
More changes that she has noticed are in the services. She notices a more culturally blended congregation where in the past, if at all, that would be hard to find. Along with that she notices a growing variety of worship styles, including the style of music played, sung, or listened to, and how it is sung or played. She also says that churches are becoming increasingly accepting to open-denominational worship and fellowship. She believes that eventually the church will ultimately form one in seeking the Lord. To add to the details about the music, praise and worship services have become an essential part of the service. Particularly in African- American churches, praise and worship service may last from anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour, drawing out services anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours and a half. Music along with teachings, have begun to reflect trends of the changing times. She has witnessed music going from slow traditional hymns with the only instruments being your hands, feet, a tambourine, and possibly an organ, to more up-tempo songs, gospel music sounding like R;B, Pop, and Rap, with accompanying instruments of guitars, drums, pianos, keyboards, etc. The pastor’s sermon now reflects events of the changing times. At once it was forbidden to speak of things such as sexual orientation, sex matters such as STD’s, teen pregnancy, and homosexuality. Now it is accepted as a viable contribution for the church to expand topics to all matters in life. She also notices that there is no more “Fire and Brimstone” teaching. Teaching is more so based on loving your brethren and letting your Christian light shine in all areas of your life in promoting prosperity and unity. With that, they also preach/teach more from the New Testament than the Old Testament. Also she notices an increasing overall acceptance in usage of the title “holy spirit”.
Trends have also changed in the church. The church has overall become less strict in its dress code and entire protocol. A lot of churches thought of wearing makeup, showing skin, wearing earrings and wearing your hair a certain type of way, of course, for women, was sinful and of “The World.” The church has developed a saying of “come as you are’, for both men and women. Where most men wore suits and ties, you can probably walk into a church now and separate men of leadership positions from those of the congregation by those who have on suits and ties and those who do not.
She also notices a change in the church’s involvement in politics, a particular growth in the African-American community. More pastors are taking on leadership positions in the community and government. For instance, Al Sharpton campaigning for President and the out-of church-contributions to the community that are made. Establishments with state-based programs have increased where there used to be a wide gap between the separation of church and state. At the moment she tells me that the church is working on a movement committed to racial trust, evolving form the old movement of racial justice, beginning with the Southern States, in which she in particular will be participating in. Since 9-11 also, she notices that the church as unified even more and has grown, possibly due to the improvements in the peoples’ perspectives of cherishing life.
“One thing that I can say has stood prevalent about the church is its existence; regardless of financial difficulties in the economy and world disasters, it still stands”. Sidne’ Charisse Evans