If we see ourselves first and foremost as Americans, the mission of God often gets set aside for a more nationalistic, self-centered response. “This is ours. You get out.”
But if we are first and foremost Christ followers, our ultimate desire is the mission of Jesus. So when we look at foreigners in our midst, our instinctive response is, “How cool! What a great opportunity we have to lead someone to Christ from another nation or ethnic background. They are coming to us! What an awesome thing for the gospel.”
Now, I’m not saying there is never a time to speak up, or that Christians simply should shrug at sin. But when we are outraged, condescending, confused, and cry out together, I don’t believe we are operating from a truly Christian paradigm. When we do this, I believe we are operating from an immature faith.
The truth is that on the front end, every church is a field of dreams. After a few months, or a year or two, it’s morphed from a field of dreams to a field to be worked, and your field may not turn out as much fruit – much less as fast – as you had hoped.
You can rest assured that it probably has little to do with your commitment, your faith, your spirituality, your call, or God’s love for you.
In my experience and, more importantly, in the polling and literature about Millennials, it is clear that this huge generation of young people has a profound spiritual yearning. Because of the constant flow of media stories about everything from clergy sexual misconduct to financial scandals, Millennials are, in my opinion, rightly skeptical about religious institutions.
However, if we can’t answer the questions of these skeptics, we don’t deserve them as members of our congregations. Indeed, their questions can lead to a healthy reformation of religious life in the United States.
Theo Hobson, in the British Spectator, critiques the New Atheist insistence that we can have morality–indeed, a better morality–apart from religion. In doing so, he shows that even today’s secular humanist morality, which the atheists take as axiomatic, actually derives from Christianity.
There is a sense in which we have come to the end of the line—not the end of the line for Christianity, but the end of the line for the track we have been on. We are like people on a subway who have taken a particular train as far as it will go. We now find ourselves sitting in the terminus. We have two choices. We can sit on a train that is going nowhere, or we can disembark and find our way through the confusing labyrinth of the terminus and locate the proper platform to catch the train which will take us farther down the line.
The young men and women that I witnessed at awards show included my daughter. I watched her sing and dance with all of her heart, soul and strength. Too often at church the expectation for her is to sit and listen, to conform, to help keep the boat from rocking and to express herself at the theatre or somewhere else. We even have the idea that energetic songs with exuberance and joy are ok for kids and teens. But no “camp experience” in the sanctuary. That is out of place.
Well, Konstantin has one issue with his new potty palace: He can’t figure out how to get out of it. Despite pushing the swinging door open with his paw, he can’t deduce to push it open with his head to escape. I guess he needs the automatic door-opening sensor option on his next litter box.