I recently read a lovely written post with the discussion if Christianity is dead? I don’t think it is dead. Instead, I believe that it has somewhat like a birthday appearance for a favorite relative. We used to show up all the time when we were younger but slowly committed as time went on. We don’t turn up in the church until someone points it out. When we do show up, it must either be on Easter or Christmas. It seems that our priorities are to go last minute grocery shopping before the NFL football games come on later that Sunday evening.
Let’s face facts that Sunday sporting events have replaced the church, as we know it. Comedians and some well-known pastors have mentioned that if ESPN would broadcast on the sing-spiration screen during service that church turnout would improve significantly. Of course, this is sad, but in all honesty, it is somewhat accurate.
I cannot support the argument that people are no longer Christian or have given up on God. Perhaps it’s safe to say that the church is irrelevant and full of hypocrisy. Look at the moral failure of so many of its leaders. But I would counter that we as Christians should retake our congregations by creating a counterculture of integrity and grace. Jesus said that it would be by our fruit that people would recognize us. Live a life of integrity with each other and outsiders, and your church will become a magnet, not a repellant.
God is missing from the church. That would be a big argument that I could make. I used to be an active member of my congregation. I stopped going because the focus seemed more about a focus on buying a new organ, new carpet, office upgrade and the list went on. I felt I was in a budget meeting more than a place of worship. Another issue was most of the stories, while positive, and seemed to allude to success as material matters such as Mercedes, Lexus, and other expensive excesses. I tend to value happiness, health and being kind to one another over material possessions. I don’t think the Gospel of the Good News included a Mercedes.
Politics always seem to slip in the pulpit. This is one of my pet peeves. While it may be true that some political issues affect the church, I should be an advocate of my congregation and community to speak about compromise and patience. When pastors or ministers bring political favoritism into the church then, of course, it will either create a divide or silence from the opposition. This is where I enjoyed learning about the history of Elizabeth I. She would always say to her ministers to vote their conscience. This is where religion should step back and let the community shape itself. Religion is the one that should administer the teachings of patience.
Finally, let’s face more facts. We just want to sleep in on Sundays. American society works harder and longer hours than most nations. Long gone are the shops from the 1960’s that close at 6 PM and closed every Sunday. Overtime and bringing work home only to get on the computer to catch up seems more of the norm. Of course, this will cycle into taking away from religious commitments.
The church is not dead. We are just keeping it somewhat like the daily lives we live. It was once on our to do list but managed to fall off when other items started pushing its way in.