1. notleia says:

    Welp, this post has been sitting awhile with nothing, so I’m not going to feel very bad about hijacking it.

    I had two unrelated topics I could blather about: the anime Youjo Senki, or the phenomenon of unchurched believers. I suppose I will take pity on my audience and talk about unchurched believers.

    Unchurched believers is a subject that a lot of church leaders have FEELINGS about, yet TBH it’s the logical end result of Protestantism in general. As I see it, the main benefit of corporate worship is because humans are social creatures and we like doing stuff in social situations. It absolutely baffles me that church leaders INSIST that corporate church is NOT about fulfilling the congregation’s social needs, because then why would you bother if you could just stay home and do some Sola Scriptura by yourself?
    In my opinion, corporate church-ness had always been at least somewhat about fulfilling the needs of the congregation. It’s just a matter of what those needs were and how they’ve shifted in the last decade or so. It used to be that your status as a respectable person was maintained by church attendance, no matter if you were fervent or just lukewarm or cultural, you parked your butt in a pew. One way to get access to rich/powerful people was to attend the same church. In college I attended the same church as the dean of the liberal arts college of my university. We pretty much never talked, both being introverts, but he was at least aware of who I was. But now church is not the only ways and means to have a social life or have social clout or even maintain your veneer of respectability, so if corporate church isn’t meeting SOME kind of need for the individual, of course they’re going to opt out. And I don’t think that’s even a bad thing, because you cannot give out of an empty pot. People function better when they get their needs met. In fact, a lot of harm comes from people having no legitimate outlet to get their needs fulfilled and end up doing it by hook or crook. So in conclusion, I support people’s right to vote with their feet and leave congregations that don’t suit them, and the people who get their shorts in a wad over it should stuff it. It’s pretty rare to be able to change a dysfunctional system from inside, and even when it is possible, it takes a hella lot of emotional labor to accomplish it.

    • Audie Thacker says:

      From what I’ve seen, both by personal experience and from what others have themselves experienced, the church nowadays is little more than a show, and that’s frustrating to me. I’ve seen it in, for example, preachers who say certain things in order to get responses from their listeners, even essentially begging for such responses with statements like “Can I get an “amen”?” or “Ya’ll need to get excited about that, you know!” There’re also the churches that appeal strongly to emotions, trying to get people worked up, dancing around, or running to the altar to pray loud and long. These are just a couple of ways I’ve seen it, with a bit of thought I think I could bore people with even more examples.

      The social aspect of church is one I’ll admit I’m very weak at. Even in the early church in Acts, it seems to have been there in some way–the church did more than have weekly meetings, they also cared for each other and had some measure of fellowship in each other’s houses. But I’m not sure the church is doing that so much now, though I can hope I’m being unfair in thinking that. What I see is a church that, for example, wants people to tithe so they can not only pay the bills and keep the doors open, but also create elaborate stage sets, set up multi-site campi here and there and everywhere, and basically just make the church more and more of a show, or a product to be consumed.

      There was a time I attended a church that had liturgical services, and I think there is a lot to be said for such services. There was more participation from the people attending, they weren’t just there to sit in the seats, listen while the praise band had their mini-concert, then listen further to an amateurish motivational speech/comedy routine. They could pray along with the prayers, the scripture readings may have been responsive, they could participate when it came time for the Lord’s Table. There was overall a certain dignity to the service that is missing in the fun and games church of today.

    • Audie Thacker says:

      I read this article a few days ago, and it seems to be about what you’re writing about.


      It’s about what’s called “third places”, places that are neither home nor work, but other places where people gather and interact. I don’t remember if churches are mentioned, but if so, it still doesn’t focus on them.

      I’m not sure if the church would fit well in the category of “third places”. It may in some ways, but it’s also very different. The church isn’t a restaurant, a library, or a coffee house. But fellowship is a part of church, the church is in some way a family, even if it’s often one with more than its share of problems.

      I have a difficult time seeing the church as a social gathering, or a place where we go to meet people and make contacts and connections. I’ll not say there is no social aspect, though, or that it is unimportant.

      • notleia says:

        Hold on, my pinko tendencies are getting the better of me and I’m trying to suppress a screed about how capitalism is ruining third places because there are very few places where you can go and spend time in a public place without being expected to purchase something.
        Coffeehouses mostly get a pass because the ratio of purchase to time spent at that place is veeeerrry forgiving. Like, it is frowned upon to buy a Big Mac and then chill out at Mickey D’s for three hours using the wi-fi, but no one is side-eying you for the potential sin of homelessness if you do it at the coffeeshop.

  2. Audie Thacker says:

    Not so long ago, new content was put up here at Spec Faith almost every weekday. That’s changed, and a lot.

    I’d guess the focus is moving from Spec Faith to Lorehaven, or maybe that Spec Faith is now a part of Lorehaven. That’s fine, thing’s like that change, but the Spec Faith side of things does appear to be overlooked of late.

    If Spec Faith is being phased out or somehow absorbed into Lorehaven, maybe it’s best to just go ahead and end it or absorb it. As it is now, Spec Faith feels like what was once a nice little bustling old-west community that had now become a ghost town, or maybe even worse the slum to a shine new city.

    • notleia says:

      Heyyyyyy fellow weeb :), this is all the excuse I need to also talk about Youjo Senki. I don’t like using the English title/subtitle “The Saga of Tanya the Evil,” because that’s too loaded but it also prompts the question of what about Tanya is evil, exactly.


      It’s pretty reductive to say that he/she/aitsu is evil, because they’re written more like a clinical psychopath. Also, how do you feel about Kami-sama being written as a manipulative villain, even against a psychopathic antihero? I mean, Kami-sama should be aware that psychopaths are born, not made, but how does that butt up against your feelings on who you root for (besides waifu-bait Sergeant Visha)?

      • Audie Thacker says:

        Afraid I know very little about Tanya, sorry. Haven’t watch any of it.

        Outside of keeping up with Re:Zero last season and with MHA this season, I’ve been working through an older series, Last Exile. A series that started this season that I’m anticipating is 86, I’ve been reading the light novels, and if the series can adapt the first few volumes it should be well worth a shot.

        • notleia says:

          86 looks less funny than Full Metal Panic (dunno if that’s a recommendation b/c I couldn’t get into FMP either), but at least it’s a seinen. I’m just not that interested in shounen at this point in my life (signs I am becoming a common Old).

          • Audie Thacker says:

            Shonen’s a mixed bag. A lot of it comes off as same-old-same-old. I’ve enjoy MHA quite a bit, though. In the manga, they’ve very recently had a huge tonal shift, almost like it’s going from a Superman type of story to a Batman type.

            Yeah, at least at first, 86 isn’t a very humorous story. In the novels, it does have some lighter moments later on, but initially it’s pretty heavy.

            Think I started FMP once, didn’t get far into it. Nothing against it, maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for humor at that time. Outside of something like Tonari no Seki-kun, though, I guess I haven’t gotten much into comedic anime.

What do you think?