Trocmé: an irrelevant church
It is not at all surprising, then, that the church has lost its power to witness. True, the church supplies society with honest citizens who carry out their responsibilities. It comforts the poor, whom society neglects. It consoles the dying, for whom medical science has given up hope. But for most Christians today faith amounts to little more than overcoming fear in the face of life’s hardships. And sometimes it does not even go that far! At night, when modern man goes to bed, he no longer prays for his salvation, no longer awaits a kingdom of God, a kingdom he no longer needs, but instead grows impatient because science has not yet succeeded in landing someone on Mars.
Of course, criticizing our current situation is not the answer. It is not the masses who have abandoned the church; rather the church has given up answering the questions people are asking: What will be the outcome of overpopulation: famine or war? What will happen to humanity if nuclear war breaks out? If a totalitarian regime takes over, what will be the future of my country, of my language, of my civilization, and of the moral values they represent? What is the goal of modern science? Will technology free the world from hunger and ignorance or will it enslave us to the computer? What can I do with my limited material and intellectual resources and my dependence on society for my livelihood? How can I provide for the future of my children, improve society, prevent war, or contribute to the establishment of justice and peace?
—André Trocmé, Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2004; first published in English in 1973), 177.