Once again: A primary problem Americans have, whether deciding issues of theology, sociology, politics – whatever, is our propensity to view the world, and all things of/in the world, through the very narrow lens of our American culture. All cultures and nationalities are prone to this mistake, but we are overwhelmed by it. This is not simply an issue of believing we are the best, but about an inability to perceive that we do in fact look through a “colored” lens – many of us cannot even comprehend that there is such a thing as a culturally “colored” lens.
This has a devastating effect on the American Christian Church, and individual Christians in this country.
We must understand that we have to put aside, as best we can, our culture peculiarities in order to get to the heart of what God intends to teach through Scripture. If we do not, we are letting cultural bias interfere with our knowledge of God and God’s ways. If we refuse to even consider our propensity for cultural myopia, we are guilty of cultural pride and arrogance. Maybe some of us do understand and determine that our particular lens is in fact God’s lens!
If we are to know timeless truths, we must comprehend Scriptural teaching from the perspective of the original writers. Only then can we get to the heart of what is required of us and promised to us – rightly dividing the Word.

Loss of Members

Brad Drell (Drell’s Descants) responded to numerous posts on the Episcopal House of Bishops/House of Deputies Listserv concerning the continuing loss of membership in the Episocpal Church with the following timely, true, and hard hitting post. I have his permission to re-post it here:
Church Growth – A Post To The HOBD Listserv

[HoB/D] TEC Continues To Hemorrhage-
I am going to play a little game with all of you here on the HOBD listserv. It is called the truth. I am going to absolutely tell the truth, as I see it in this post – no holding back. It is rather ugly, and I apologize in advance. But, reading this stuff about decline in our church, I’ve basically decided that my church seems to be ignoring some obvious problems.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this whole church growth issue in terms of who is growing and who is not. The Catholic and Mormon churches are really growing. I think it is because they are birthing more members of their churches. Episcopalians I think have plenty of children, although probably less than most. The big difference seems to be that a lot of Episcopalian parents didn’t and don’t MAKE their children come to church. Children shouldn’t have a choice in the matter. I never did. Many of my friends did, however. I’m still in the church; they aren’t. Not a big surprise. Since we’ve skipped a generation of making children come to church, what are we going to do about it? Well, we might have to do some serious work to bring them and their children back.
There is a tremendous disconnect in our church. Much of it is the egotism of the baby-boomers. Yes, egotism on the part of a generation that was given everything by the great generation. It is driving Generation-X off. We have a tremendous gap in clergy, because people of my generation weren’t encouraged to go into the priesthood, but told to go get some “life experience” by the baby boomers. The baby boomers have produced a huge number of second-career priests. It was what I was told when I was looking at the priesthood before college. I think it is fine to have more women in seminary now than ever before. But, look at the ages of your average seminarian. I realize a number of the baby boomer generation ladies weren’t allowed to go to seminary when they were younger, granted, but where are the younger folks? **********’s Diocese of ************** is apparently doing something about this. Anyone else? No one said anything about what ********* has had to say about growth. He’s right on target.

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From Today’s Daily Dig

From today’s Daily Dig, from the Bruderhouf Communities:

Wisdom of a Sadhu
Sundar Singh (1889-1929)
Both water and oil come from the earth. And though they are similar in many ways, they are opposites in their nature and their purpose. One extinguishes fire, the other gives fuel to the fire. Similarly, the world and its treasures are creations of God along with the soul and its thirst for spiritual truth. But if we try to quench the thirst of our soul with the wealth and pride and honors of this world, then it is like trying to extinguish fire with oil. The soul will only find peace and contentment in the One who created it along with its longing. When we turn to the living Master, we receive water that satisfies our soul. This water is a well of spiritual life that springs up deep within us.
Source: “Wisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh” (Plough, 2000)