The Wild Goose Festival, an ongoing four-day revival camp in North Carolina featuring music, yoga, liberal talk and embracing of gays and lesbians, is facing heat from evangelicals who say it is aimed at selling gnostic beliefs to the youth.
“Most Religious Left groups that advocated leftist policies in past generations are now in severe decline, and their activists are now targeting evangelical youth,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which works to reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings.
This is another one of those “plus ça change, plus la meme chose” kinds of things. In many ways, “Main Line” churches have been a long time stop for disaffected evangelicals, many of whom (or their children) end up out of Christianity altogether. (Traditionally, much of that disaffection has been driven by upward social mobility.) The Emergents, which are not as different from their Main Line counterparts as they would like to think, are trying to accomplish the same thing, and will probably get the same result, namely decline as the reality sinks into the membership that what they believe and practice isn’t that different–and certainly no better–than the world around them.
One thing that Main Line and Emergent bank on is a latent desire for “church” amongst people, irrespective of beliefs or lack thereof. But that’s not a given either, certainly not now.
As J. Vernon McGee used to say, those who don’t stand for something will fall for anything. It is, as my mother used to say, a “wild goose chase”. And her use of the phrase was pejorative. (It also, sad to say, ended up to be her experience.)