Tuesday, July 18, 2006

missing "christians"

comediean mitch hedberg once observed...

when you go to a restaurant on the weekends and it's busy they start a waiting list. they start calling out names, they say "dufresne, party of two. dufresne, party of two." and if no one answers they'll say their name again. "dufresne, party of two, dufresne, party of two." but then if no one answers they'll just go right on to the next name. "bush, party of three." yeah, but what happened to the dufresnes? no one seems to care. who can eat at a time like this - people are missing. you are selfish... the dufresnes are in someone's trunk right now, with duct tape over their mouths... and they're hungry! that's a double whammy. we need help. "bush, search party of three! you can eat when you find the dufresnes."

pastor and author jim elliff observes a similar phenomenon taking place in our churches, albeit much less humorous...

out of southern baptist's 16,287,494 members, only 6,024,289, or 37 percent,
on average, show up for their church’s primary meeting, according to statistics
from lifeway christian resources.

how is it that we readily give such large numbers when asked about our "membership",(when, biblically, being a member means being an active participant, and a growing and maturing christian) when we *know* that a much smaller percentage actually show up? where are those "members", what have we done to communicate their responsibility as members, and what do we do when they show no interest in coming back?
read elliff's entire sobering article at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=21189

more to come...


Thursday, July 06, 2006

name that christianity!!

in a letter to the editor in "usa today", a man, mr. gordon hill from florida, wrote in regarding a topic that has grown quite tiring to me, the "davinci code" movie . fortunately, this is not the focus of this discussion.
apparantley, the paper had published a couple of reviews about the movie by writers whom mr. hill found to have "absolutist points of view and little sense of humor"
in response to one writer's view that "the davinci code is a deeply deceptive account of what christians really believe about jesus.", mr. hill wrote:

really? what do christians believe about jesus? my christian
acquaintances are of many minds when it comes to what jesus
taught and how we are to live."

about comments made by dennis mccain and chuck colsen, mr. hill writes:

"both suggest that there is one clear definition of what a christian is supposed
to be."

this is the world that we live in. to mr. hill in florida, and countless others, being a christian can mean many things. i am reminded of several people i know and have known who feel the same way. to be a christian is to be more or less moral, and to think that the person called jesus from 2000 years ago had some good things to say.

where do they get these ideas? who is teaching them that there are multiple definitions of what it means to be a christian? maybe a better question is, what are we * not * teaching, that leads to this way of thinking?

in our churches, in our homes, and in our work places, do we, as christians, add any validity to the claims of mr. hill from florida, that "christian" can mean many things? or are we striving to teach, and share, and live, and know that the gospel is only this: that all of mankind is born sinners who deserve an eternity of the wrath of god, and that god sent his son jesus christ to die and appease his wrath for the sins of all who would place their hope and faith in him, and that true faith in christ produces fruit of obedience and holiness.

is this what we are teaching and sharing about our faith? or are we teaching, maybe even by our silence, that to be christian is to be "moral" or "religious"?