by Doctor Science
The Sprogs were saying how difficult it is to keep track of the differences between Christian denominations, especially when you're raised Jewish in a community with no real religious majority and a plurality of Catholics. They have a good sense for "what's a Catholic", from my relatives, but Protestants confuse them.
Sprog the Younger thinks that there should be some kind of mnemonic or acrostic or something for Protestant denominations. I told her the only one I know:
a Methodist is a Baptist with shoes
a Presbyterian is a Methodist who's gone to college
an Episcopalian is a Presbyterian who lives off their investments
Variants of this saying have been around for well over a hundred years, but it's by no means a complete survey. When I look at the list of the largest protestant denominations I realize my own ignorance:
I have no idea how to distinguish many of these, especially the various and very large African-American denominations. Not to mention that, as Fred Clark was just pointing out, Baptists aren't supposed to be a denomination at all -- their core principle is supposed to be soul freedom and the autonomy of individual churches. That's why the organization of Southern Baptists is called a convention: it's supposed to be individual churches in mutual agreement, not a top-down hierarchy. Well, that used to be the idea.
- Southern Baptist Convention: 16.2 million members
- The United Methodist Church: 7.8 million members
- The Church of God in Christ: 5.5 million members
- National Baptist Convention: 5.0 million members
- Evangelical Lutheran Church, U.S.A.: 4.5 million members
- National Baptist Convention of America: 3.5 million members
- Assemblies of God: 2.9 million members
- Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): 2.8 million members
- African Methodist Episcopal Church: 2.5 million members
- National Missionary Baptist Convention of America: 2.5 million members
- The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS): 2.3 million members
- The Episcopal Church: 2.0 million members
- Churches of Christ: 1.6 million members
- Pentecostal Assemblies of the World: 1.5 million members
- The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church: 1.4 million members
Anyway, do any of you know any mnemonic or list or saying or ditty that a Jewish girl can use to keep all those Protestants straight? How do those of you who are Protestants keep the other kinds of Protestants straight? No-one has much trouble identifying Catholics or remembering that they're The Ones With The Pope.