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What will American Christianity look like in 50 years? (Predictions for various denominations)
SILOUAN ^ | 12/21/2012 | Silouan Philip Thompson

Posted on 12/21/2012 3:31:33 PM PST by SeekAndFind

I was asked this in an online forum, and my answer got too long to manage. Here’s my infallible prediction. How did I do?

TL;DR: in 50 years you’ll see recognizable Orthodox, Catholics and Reformed… and a vast spectrum of Everybody Else, many of them changing in significant ways and seeing that as a virtue.



TOPICS: Catholic; Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: christianity; denominations; predictions; trends
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1 posted on 12/21/2012 3:31:41 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

“TL;DR: in 50 years you’ll see recognizable Orthodox, Catholics and Reformed… and a vast spectrum of Everybody Else, many of them changing in significant ways and seeing that as a virtue.”

Seems to be a safe projection to make.


2 posted on 12/21/2012 3:34:28 PM PST by Shadow44
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To: SeekAndFind

If Catholics leave because of Homosexual women wanting to be Priests and Clergy not allowed to marry I would call that seperating the harvest from the Chaff.


3 posted on 12/21/2012 3:39:20 PM PST by Venturer
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To: SeekAndFind

Spirit filled Bible believing churches (and I do not mean a building)will survive just like they have from the beginning.


4 posted on 12/21/2012 3:51:38 PM PST by svcw (Why is one cell on another planet considered life, and in the womb it is not.)
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To: svcw
I guess no one here believes in the rapture, or Jesus' Second Coming to take His away.

Hmmm .. go 'head with your denominational thinking, but Christians look for His return.

Now ... at the rate America is decaying we have to first accept America is gone ... unless there is a bloody uprising .. America is gone and we are the only nation sending missionaries out into the world to teach people about Jesus, thus .. with no preacher, the Word cannot be heard nor known.

AntiChrist enters stage left and the planet is done for .... God said so.

5 posted on 12/21/2012 3:57:59 PM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: knarf

I meant to add ... what makes anyone think there IS another 50 years ?


6 posted on 12/21/2012 3:59:10 PM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: SeekAndFind

Seems like this is an Orthodox perspective. Much is true, but it leaves out much. And he seems ignorant of what’s going on in Baptist circles, both SBC and others.

Yes, Orthodoxy is growing, and a group of dear friends of mine moved there about 30 years ago from a national evangelical ministry. They brought an evangelical perspective into the Orthodox that is still having it’s effect, though with the recent death of Peter Guilquist, an old friend, word is the evangelical influence is diminishing.

What he leaves out is the huge, growing disaffection with old form traditional Christianity - a religion of services, ceremony and outreach works. A troubling “authoritarianism” is growing in many evangelical churches as they see Christians who love God but don’t want to be a part of their membership. Many teach an absolute authority for the local pastor, totally foreign to scripture, and insistence on membership as a means of their control. In the end, this is driving thousands from the organized church. Even while these pastors pound their pulpits in protest and condemnation of same.

The author also leaves out the move of house churches which is growing geometrically. I think he is totally unaware of anything outside denominations. It has it’s share of crazies, but also has a healthy component of wholly committed, strong Christians who emphasize first a close personal relationship with Christ, and second a practical, living means of laying their lives down for one another as it was in the early church. No formal leaders, just Christians loving God and one another - and neighbors - in very real, practical ways. Could be the most real form of Christianity that there is.

BTW, over almost 50 years, I have worked in, alongside, and loved Christians of almost every stripe, color and name both inside denominations and outside of them.....love them all....in each I’ve seen something of Christ the others do not have.....and I can’t wait until our oneness in the body of Christ is a reality.......when we are with Him.....


7 posted on 12/21/2012 3:59:19 PM PST by Arlis (.)
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To: knarf

OooooKaaay?


8 posted on 12/21/2012 3:59:59 PM PST by svcw (Why is one cell on another planet considered life, and in the womb it is not.)
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To: svcw
Well .. is HE coming again or ISN'T HE ?

and if so ... when? What are the signs of His return?

9 posted on 12/21/2012 4:03:54 PM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Arlis
Seems like this is an Orthodox perspective.

No kidding. (Who else takes the name Silouan -- most likely with St. Silouan the Athonite, my bishop's spiritual father's spiritual father, as his patron, but an Orthodox Christian?)

10 posted on 12/21/2012 4:05:52 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know...)
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To: SeekAndFind

50 years from now all true Christians will be in heaven with Jesus.


11 posted on 12/21/2012 4:08:13 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear

RE: 50 years from now all true Christians will be in heaven with Jesus.

Even those who are younger than 25?


12 posted on 12/21/2012 4:13:15 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: The_Reader_David

I wrote that for the benefit of our non-Orthodox friends here.......


13 posted on 12/21/2012 4:13:38 PM PST by Arlis (.)
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To: knarf

Does it matter when? It could be tomorrow, or 3000 years from now.

I prefer to live the best I can, so that if it happens tomorrow I’m in as good standing before God as I can be. I could be hit by a car tomorrow as well, more or less the same results about keeping myself in good standing with God.

Just my meager opinion.


14 posted on 12/21/2012 4:14:25 PM PST by Shadow44
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To: knarf
Well .. is HE coming again or ISN'T HE ?

and if so ... when? What are the signs of His return?

"For you know quite well that the day of the Lord's return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night."--1 Thessalonians 5:2

15 posted on 12/21/2012 4:16:40 PM PST by Fiji Hill (i)
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To: SeekAndFind

This presumes that things will continue to move in the same direction as they have over the past several decades.

That would seem to be a safe assumption—unless God intervenes with another great revival.

The history of Christianity has, over the centuries, tended to see decay and taking things for granted—until some force intervenes and everything changes.

The Great Awakening is an experience most Americans have heard of—or at least used to have heard of before history ceased to be taught. And there have been many similar awakenings and conversion experiences in the Catholic Church over the years.

And these things can overflow. Methodism not only revived Christianity in England after it had almost died during the eighteenth century, but it overflowed into the Church of England and elsewhere, as well.

Obviously, there is no way to predict such happenings. They happen if and when God wills.


16 posted on 12/21/2012 4:18:45 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: knarf

Yes, He is coming. He said so, the angels in Acts 1 said so, and the scripture says so.

When? Could be any second. Or could be after I’m dead and gone...almost all believers close to God have believed His coming was imminent for 2,000 years.

But the question is not WHEN He is coming - for no one knows.

The question is, as He repeatedly told us - are we ready for His coming? Are we looking for, expecting His coming? Are we even longing for it, crying out as the last words of the Bible, “Come, Lord Jesus!” ??????

Because He told us He is coming when no one is expecting it. No one.

There is nothing here, but a dark, quickly decaying world - that still needs to hear the gospel.

But He is coming for a people who long for, and who are looking for and expecting His coming......


17 posted on 12/21/2012 4:23:40 PM PST by Arlis (.)
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To: SeekAndFind
". . .  not yet old enough to make a virtue of ancient weirdness the way Eastern Orthodox do."

What "ancient weirdness"?

18 posted on 12/21/2012 4:30:17 PM PST by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Things have changed a great deal in the last 100 years and organized religions have changed with them. World events will likely shape organized religions even more as we bounce from one crisis to the next, one war to the next or today's muslim extremists to the next.

Sooner rather than later, especially with obamacare's various legal challenges, we will confront both abortion and same sex marriage and biblical teachings.

We've been dancing around the edges, flirting with making holy what is explicitly forbidden, and ignoring the cognitive dissonance that flows freely from such willful blindness.

More than likely, just as with the rebirth of Israel, we will experience some prophetic event or more come to pass that will call more to scripture and revive a more pragmatic, practical approach (aka "fear of God") to religion. We may choose differently at that point. If so, we'll have a chance to see things through to the end.

Otherwise, I think we'll go down the same dark path every other society so afflicted with modernity as ours has become, with churches becoming less relevant as they move farther away from the principles and teachings that define who and what they are.

When it all comes apart, some will call it Judgment.

19 posted on 12/21/2012 4:40:57 PM PST by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Fifty years from now, worldwide secularization will be much more dominant than it is now. Worldwide leftists will continue to criticize Christianity and suppress Christianity much worse than they do now. Worldwide Islam will be much more common. Worldwide Christians will be forced to practice their faith in secret.


20 posted on 12/21/2012 4:43:58 PM PST by johnthebaptistmoore (The world continues to be stuck in a "all leftist, all of the time" funk. BUNK THE FUNK!)
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To: johnthebaptistmoore

I have no inside information, but I would not be surprised to see a country wide/world wide fundamental Christian revival. The true word of God will prevail.


21 posted on 12/21/2012 4:50:33 PM PST by Citizen Tom Paine (An old sailor sends)
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To: knarf
and if so ... when?

No one knows. You certainly don't know, nor should you be making predictions that it will be soon. We may very well have thousands, even millions of years till that particular event occurs. Some people in every generation think theirs is the last, and they are always wrong.

22 posted on 12/21/2012 4:59:46 PM PST by Longbow1969
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To: johnthebaptistmoore
Fifty years from now, worldwide secularization will be much more dominant than it is now.

On the path we are currently on, this part of your statement is probably true. Then again, one giant worldwide depression or something like it could completely change the direction the world is going in. But yeah, I think Western Christianity is likely to continue weakening as populations in the Western world secularize.

23 posted on 12/21/2012 5:03:49 PM PST by Longbow1969
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To: SeekAndFind
Fifty years? We shall see. Or, maybe you'll get to see. Absent significant medical advances, I probably won't be.

Straight line extrapolation is likely to break somewhere. Let an end times type persecution scenario break out, and all bets as to how it looks are off.

Orthodoxy: Little visible change, zero substantive change

Because, of course, they never change. I'm being sarcastic. Disaffected evangelicals coming in will bring in evangelical attitudes. Perhaps the Orthoborg can assimilate them, perhaps not.

Catholicism:

Same comments as for the Orthodox.

Reformed Christians:

If not for the current Internet fueled popularity of the "Young, Restless and Reformed" crowd, the author probably wouldn't even be aware of them. The hard core Reformed, those that think that it's about more than "the five points", number a half million or so in N.Am, laboring and worshiping in obscurity. Even adding in the Reformed Baptists wouldn't change that number much.

Lutherans, Episcopagans, Presbyterians, UCC

If there's anything left at all, a shrunken and whithered leftist core, supported by endowments and old money. The gay & the grey don't reproduce well, so where does that leave you? (That's a rhetorical question.)

They'll sell their empty buildings cheap to the Muslims and the charismatics.

Non-charismatic nondenominations

Who knows where they'll end up. Too many different directions. There's the charismawhacky direction. There's the church as mall, church as business megachurch model. Both, I think, end in their own sort of disaster.

24 posted on 12/21/2012 5:13:24 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
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To: SeekAndFind
>>Even those who are younger than 25?<<

I do believe the rapture will happen prior to that. After that there will be no “denominations”.

25 posted on 12/21/2012 5:48:33 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m not seeing one troubling group — atheists.


26 posted on 12/21/2012 6:04:00 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: CynicalBear

RE: I do believe the rapture will happen prior to that.

Interesting, is there a Biblical basis for this belief, or is it just your own feeling?


27 posted on 12/21/2012 6:05:07 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Anyone who lumps “Conservative Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists in North America” in one forecast knows little about Christianity.

Lutherans alone vary from ultra-conservative to uber-liberal.

I pay no heed to this article.

And no one knows when the big guy will return. Not even a close estimate.


28 posted on 12/21/2012 6:11:29 PM PST by american_ranger
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To: Longbow1969; johnthebaptistmoore
Fifty years from now, worldwide secularization will be much more dominant than it is now.

On the path we are currently on, this part of your statement is probably true. Then again, one giant worldwide depression or something like it could completely change the direction the world is going in. But yeah, I think Western Christianity is likely to continue weakening as populations in the Western world secularize.


Predictions are hard to make. Like you said, if we stay on this path, you're right but 50 years is a long time. A lot of things can happen, world wide collapse due to some catastrophe and/or atomic war, perhaps a war with Islam and so on. In 1980, I would have laughed at the idea of the USSR collapsing in the 1989/91 period although I did wonder if I was right in 1983 where I figured that one day the US would be like the USSR and the USSR like the US.
29 posted on 12/21/2012 6:22:17 PM PST by Nowhere Man (I miss you Whitey! (4-15-2001 - 10-12-2012). Take care, pretty girl!)
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To: Lee N. Field

About the Orthodox and Catholic churches, I did see one interesting reference in an old cartoon made in the Soviet Union called “Christmas Toys” from 1924, being an animation junky I am. They referred to the Orthodox Church as “The Dead Church” and the Roman Catholic Church as “The Living Church.” You can find the cartoon on YouTube. I wonder where they got those terms from.


30 posted on 12/21/2012 6:35:01 PM PST by Nowhere Man (I miss you Whitey! (4-15-2001 - 10-12-2012). Take care, pretty girl!)
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To: SeekAndFind
What about Mormons? Disregarding for the moment whether they are Christians
31 posted on 12/21/2012 6:35:25 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: Fiji Hill; knarf
>>"For you know quite well that the day of the Lord's return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night."--1 Thessalonians 5:2

Why do people always put that verse out there all alone? That is not conveying the meaning of that passage. Look at what follows it.

1 Thessalonians 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

There is much in scripture that shows us the seasons to watch for so that it doesn’t come upon us “like a thief in the night”. That is talking about the children of darkness, not the children of light. We who are Christians have the scripture to show us what to look for.

32 posted on 12/21/2012 6:42:04 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: SeekAndFind
>>Interesting, is there a Biblical basis for this belief, or is it just your own feeling?<<

A Biblical basis. Study prophecy. Israel was brought back as a nation after nearly 2000 years in 1948. That’s no coincidence.

33 posted on 12/21/2012 6:46:39 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: SeekAndFind

The big story of world religion over the next 50 years will be the flourishing of the Christian church in China. Fujian province is supposedly more than 20% Christian today, and growing amazingly fast. The rest of China is following. It is quite possible that China will be majority Christian within my lifetime, or at least my childrens’.


34 posted on 12/21/2012 7:02:55 PM PST by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The big story of world religion over the next 50 years will be the flourishing of the Christian church in China. Fujian province is supposedly more than 20% Christian today, and growing amazingly fast. The rest of China is following. It is quite possible that China will be majority Christian within my lifetime, or at least my childrens’.


35 posted on 12/21/2012 7:03:01 PM PST by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
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To: ccmay

RE: The big story of world religion over the next 50 years will be the flourishing of the Christian church in China. Fujian province is supposedly more than 20% Christian today, and growing amazingly fast.

The more relevant question is this — What FORM will this Chinese Christianity take? Will it be Catholic? Orthodox? Mainline Protestant? Evangelical? Will it hold to the essentials of the Christian faith? Will a more free-wheeling form appear?

THAT is the question.


36 posted on 12/21/2012 7:11:57 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

There isn’t anything new under the sun.


37 posted on 12/21/2012 7:16:24 PM PST by Truth2012
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To: CynicalBear
"After that there will be no “denominations""

Amen to that!

It's sad that it will take such a monumental event for the church to finally "be of one mind" still,better then than never I suppose!

38 posted on 12/21/2012 7:37:20 PM PST by mitch5501 ("make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall")
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To: CynicalBear

Well, so far, those preachers like Harold Camping who tell us that we’re in the last days have been wrong 100% of the time.


39 posted on 12/21/2012 7:42:58 PM PST by Fiji Hill (i)
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To: CynicalBear

RE: Israel was brought back as a nation after nearly 2000 years in 1948. That’s no coincidence.

I still fail to see how that translates Biblically to Christ coming back on or before 2062.


40 posted on 12/21/2012 7:48:19 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: mitch5501
>>It's sad that it will take such a monumental event for the church to finally "be of one mind" still,better then than never I suppose!<<

Actually I think the true “church” is of one mind pretty much now. There are obviously some left to join the fold or the Rapture would have happened already. They are scattered around the globe and are affiliated with different organizations but when it comes to the heart they are “of one mind”.

41 posted on 12/21/2012 7:53:48 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: Fiji Hill
>>Well, so far, those preachers like Harold Camping who tell us that we’re in the last days have been wrong 100% of the time.<<

People like that are used by Satan. If they really understood prophecy they wouldn’t have led people astray like they did.

42 posted on 12/21/2012 7:55:39 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: SeekAndFind
>>I still fail to see how that translates Biblically to Christ coming back on or before 2062.<<

Israel became a nation again in 1948. The generation that saw that happen “shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled”. You would first need to understand Gabriel’s seventy weeks prophecy to Daniel. The second coming of Christ to this earth is preceded by a “week” of seven years. The church will be removed from this earth just prior to that seven year period. I was born in 1948. According to scripture a generation is 70 years.

43 posted on 12/21/2012 8:13:58 PM PST by CynicalBear
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To: CynicalBear
"Actually I think the true “church” is of one mind pretty much now."

You're right of course and right now they are readying their minds for action and leaning fully on the grace that is to be revealed at His coming! (1 Peter 1:13)

44 posted on 12/21/2012 8:36:16 PM PST by mitch5501 ("make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall")
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To: Shadow44
Does it matter when? It could be tomorrow, or 3000 years from now.

It could happen next week--or on October 13, AD 999,999,999, or in between, or later.

45 posted on 12/21/2012 8:43:29 PM PST by Fiji Hill (i)
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To: Nowhere Man

On the show “Laugh-In”, they made the correct prediction that the Iron Curtain would collapse in 1991. I’m, still, amazed that they made the correct call.


46 posted on 12/21/2012 9:05:14 PM PST by johnthebaptistmoore (The world continues to be stuck in a "all leftist, all of the time" funk. BUNK THE FUNK!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Like it was under Nero and Caligula.


47 posted on 12/21/2012 9:54:35 PM PST by Tolkien (Grace is the Essence of the Gospel; Gratitude is the Essence of Ethics.)
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To: Citizen Tom Paine

I hope you’re right.


48 posted on 12/21/2012 9:57:43 PM PST by ReformationFan
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To: Shadow44; Fiji Hill; CynicalBear
"Does it matter when? It could be tomorrow, or 3000 years from now"

"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (Mat 24:44-46) Obviously the season Jesus is talking about is the one when He will appear.He says the servant giving spiritual food in due season will be blessed.Therefore He is telling us that that when He comes,blessed is that servant telling believers "He's coming".So yes it obviously matters a great deal.The fact that around a third of the Bible has to do with the prophetic should tell us that loud and clear.

2 Tim 1:7,8) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.(Rev 19:10)

Mark 13:37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch

49 posted on 12/21/2012 10:04:10 PM PST by mitch5501 ("make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall")
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To: johnthebaptistmoore
On the show “Laugh-In”, they made the correct prediction that the Iron Curtain would collapse in 1991. I’m, still, amazed that they made the correct call.

"Laugh-In" also predicted that Ronald Reagan would be President in 1988.
50 posted on 12/21/2012 10:16:02 PM PST by Nowhere Man (I miss you Whitey! (4-15-2001 - 10-12-2012). Take care, pretty girl!)
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