So Rob Bell recently said in a podcast that “Jesus would be mortified to learn a religion had been created in his name.”
I think this article covers most of the bases to substantiate that claim.
The only thing to add might be that though millennials are departing the church, they’re not necessarily leaving Jesus behind. And it might not even be intentional.
The data suggests we’re a very giving generation — both of our time and our (limited) resources. We’d rather march for equality on a Sunday than get lectured in a pew, and I’d have to imagine that Jesus — who was killed for political insurrection — would be right beside us.
For me, at least, the divine is doing something in this world, and it doesn’t require transactionalism (“I’ve accepted Jesus, thus, I’m saved and shall save the world”) to bring it about.
As Benjamin writes, the early Christians didn’t create a religious structure with bylaws. They just got shit done. They didn’t even call themselves “Christians” (a pejorative attributed to them). They were followers of The Way; to be a follower of Jesus wasn’t a cultural attribute, it was a verb.
And if that’s where this story is going — if it takes the collapse of the “Christian” institution — well, then that’s a hell of a story.
Jesus would be the last one to ask for some kind of recognition if we’re to bring about the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.