11 (Hopeful) Faith-Based Predictions for 2011

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

So yesterday we discussed Donald Miller’s rather gloomy prediction that 2011 would bring further divisions among Christians and that Satan would use our over-politicized, media-driven culture to lead the Church astray. Some of you agreed with the assessment, while others raised some questions. 

I figure that with six months until my 30th birthday I can still get away with being an idealist, so here are my 11 faith-based predictions for 2011, based entirely on anecdotal evidence and a stubborn hope that things will get better:

1. More evangelicals will embrace the liturgy, disciplines, and seasons of historic Christianity as interest in the ecumenical Church continues to grow.  The Book of Common Prayer and church calendar will be integrated into more worship services, thus building bridges between the low church and the high church and fostering fellowship between brothers and sisters worshipping in various expressions of the universal Church.  

2. The secularization of the American culture will cause some people of faith to frantically cling to their last vestiges of power. But others will see the change as a blessing in disguise, as the Church in America is forced to humbly reconsider its mission and purpose as a “set apart” people committed to serving rather than ruling.

3. The Christian media will stop talking about the “new Calvinism,” since it doesn’t appear to exist.

4. Interest in adoption among Christians will soar as books like Radical by David Platt inspire entire churches to take the Church’s obligation to care for orphans and widows more seriously. 

5. Cable news will continue to feature the most polarizing, reactive voices in religion as if such voices represent all people of faith. Old people will listen, but young people won’t.Tech-savvy and progressive, young adults will continue to be more selective about their news sources as media becomes more personalized.  In addition, young adults will waste less time channel surfing and watching advertisements, as online media takes off. (Dan and I haven’t had regular TV for over a year now,  and we don’t miss it at all.)

6. Kent Annan’s breathtaking book,  After Shock: Searching for Honest Faith When Your World Is Shaken will release in February and carry the current conversation about faith and doubt to new levels of honesty, intelligence, and grace.

7. While some denominational leaders will continue to present a hyper-literal interpretation of Genesis 1 as non-negotiable Christian truth, organizations like The Biologos Forum will pick up steam as thoughtful, earnest Christians try to reconcile their faith with Darwin’s theory of evolution.  The debate will likely grow more heated, especially on Christian college campuses,  but this is a tough conversation that absolutely must happen in order for Christians to remain relevant and intellectually engaged in today’s world. 

8. Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary will keep kicking ass on her blog and hopefully get herself a book deal. 

9. A few courageous, high profile evangelical pastors will publicly assume a more loving and welcoming posture toward the gay community, drawing the wrath of conservatives but providing a glimmer of hope to gay Christians who long for the chance to worship alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ without fear.

10. Muslims in America will continue to face prejudice and oppression, and the media will fixate on rising tensions between religious groups.  But in reaction, Christians, Jews, and Muslims of goodwill will work extra hard to promote more productive interreligious dialog behind the scenes where the real work is done. 

11. Christians will fight, but we’ll also continue to talk….which is the most important thing. 

Got anything to add to the list?

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