Sometimes sermons can be really, really awful.

That said, I have often found them to be a wonderful source of learning, challenge and growth.

Recently, my colleague, Jake Dunagan, pointed me towards a fascinating sermon written by a social futurist & delivered at North Shore Unitarian Universality Church in Vancouver, BC.  In it, Sara Robinson shares her “shop talk” about trends that will affect the social & religious landscape in the next decade.

Here is the list, in short.  Robinson’s full sermon which is much more nuanced than my paraphrased versions, can be found here:

  1. Reports of the death of religion are greatly exaggerated
  2. The center of gravity for the Christian world is moving south.
  3. In North America, most members of the Millennial generation have reached young adulthood, and have started to have a huge impact on the way this continent does religion.
  4. And at the same time all this is happening, we’re also seeing a resurgence of atheism.
  5. Environmental ethics & global inter-religious dialogue are now embedded forces in most mainstream religions
  6. The marketplace of spiritual ideas is going global, and interconnectivity (through trade, the intent & social networks) has important implications for the future religious life of the planet.
  7. In the developing world, there are a lot of former colonies that are still struggling to define their national culture and identities after generations of colonial oppression.
  8. India & China are growing in power, and their dominant religions–Hinduism, Confuciansim, and Buddhism– will become far more visible and influential on the global religious scene.
  9. We are not going to get rid of fundamentalism.
  10. Technology is already challenging our ideas of what it means to be human, to be alive, to be a spiritual being.

I was impressed with Robinson’s work, especially because of how she tracks trends & counter-trends in the future of religion that need to be held in tension with each other.

I also admire the way she fuses faith, politics, the environment, and technology together in a manner that hints at their true interplay in any one person or community.  If you were a futurist preacher, what would you preach?

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