Friday, May 2, 2014

The Problem in the Church - I

An old friend sent the following to me in his daily blog and I want to repeat what he had to say as I believe it is important.  I am not including his name as some may recognize his past and discard what he has to say.  I repeat his words as now, he is the Pastor on a growing church in a major city and as I said, I believe they are important:

"People everywhere are experiencing aspects of themselves and souls at a level so intriguing that they can no longer ignore it.  Millions of us are considering what we believe about ourselves and why we believe it.  We are also shifting our world view, including what we believe about God, the Bible and the extreme mythologies of Christianity.  And we are doing this while maintaining our cherished experiences of transcendence and spirituality. These are exciting times.  Full speed ahead in self-realization and expanded consciousness."

I am the one who placed the emphasis on his words, these are exciting times, as I believe that is an accurate evaluation of the times in which we live.

Remember, I was born in the midst of a critical period in our nation's history.  Ninety days after I was born, the stock market crashed, I mean, crashed.  Men were known to jump out the windows because they could not face the future and deal with their embarrassment at having been so very wrong.  The "Great" depression followed and it was not long before we were engaged in World War II.  We talk about our victory as though it was common place but the fact is, Germany and Japan were well prepared to end our dreams of a democratic society where even the "man on the street" could achieve whatever he set his heart to accomplish.  Within a decade, we went from literal rags to riches beyond our wildest imaginations.  Happy Days were here again.

Now, watch what has happened in the aftermath.  We got ourselves bogged down in a war in Korea that still is a threat not only to our nation, but all others.  If they started a nuclear war, the whole world be involved.  Then, there was Vietnam and we were embarrassed by the fact that our modern armies could not overwhelm an obviously, out manned group of patriots.  And worse, another group of religious zealots conceived of an attack at the heart of our most prosperous city and we suffered, 9/11.  Now, we are still attempting to extricate ourselves from wars that have seemed to have no end.  And they are not over.

Will it never end, we ask ourselves.  The answer - if you want to study your Bible, wars and the threat of wars will never end until, or if, we begin to embrace the teaching of the One who came, hailed as the Prince of Peace.

So what are we doing?  Look at what we have done.  The war in Vietnam was the beginning of the weariness that a nation suffers when justice is not served.  Count the casualties and you may be able to realize the effect it had on the families of those least prepared to lose their sons and daughters.  Listen closely and you may still hear - from centuries past, Rachael weeping for her children.

We had no sooner begun to forget the agony of Vietnam, than a voice came of of the wilderness from centuries past when God promised Abraham that he would become the "father of many nations".  Do you not recall that Abraham had a son by the hand maiden, Hagar, whose name was Ishmael?   Where were our foreign policy experts when nations like Great Britain were being embarrassed by groups of itinerant nomads, that we now respectfully acknowledge as, the nations of Islam.

A few of their zealots were gathered together in prison cells in Egypt and created their plans for retribution and one of them was named, Osama bin Laden.

There are those who would say our nation was asleep, while the greater truth is the reality that our religious leaders were gathering here and there across our nation and others with grandiose plans for the second coming of Christ.  Oh I know, many of these were as serious as a toothache, they realized that something needed to be done, but it is difficult to involve the people unless they can be prepared for war in the midst of peace.

One of my problems in referring to the immediate past is that the religious leadership of too many denominations have turned their people against themselves.  We witnessed the spread of a new disease, now known as AIDS, and when we realized that it was being transmitted by homosexuals, far too many of our own turned against them.  I was there, in the midst of the opposition as I was a "conservative" Christian and I have to admit, I was sickened by the efforts of those I had called my brothers and sisters.

I stepped aside and began to support organizations that promoted "human rights" and one day I was awakened to the realization that their objectives were no longer focused on the plight of the homosexual, but they had a higher goal, the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Is it any wonder that this on-coming generation is fleeing from the church.

The sin has been named, it is called hypocrisy.  The target is the church.  The future is bleak.  And sadly, those widely known as the leaders in our faith are vainly clinging to the ages old scriptures that were designed to address social problems in another age.

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