Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Keeping Faith in 2012+
2012's first edition of KD included my prediction that the Mormon is the "inevitable" GOP nominee to take on the, uh, not-really-sure-about-his-religion incumbent in this year's run for the rose garden.
He's gonna cruise in NH and then ride on to defeat on November 6 as BBPBHO wins bigger than last time.
Truth is BBPBHO is exactly who America wants in the White House.
He is our first truly secular President; and that fits into America's current/increasing, uh, secularism.
Unless the Mayans are right and this is the year when the increasing intensity and frequency of the eschaton's birthpangs reach a climax compelling a resurgence of foxhole religious interest across the land, recent research indicates/proves BBPBHO, again, is exactly who America wants in the White House.
USA Today compiled some interesting stats from a variety of reliable sources on 1/3/12.
46% of Americans "say they never wonder whether they will go to heaven" (LifeWay Research).
44% "don't spend time seeking 'eternal wisdom'" and 19% claim "It's useless to search for meaning" (Baylor University Religion Survey).
28% confess "It's not a major priority in my life to find my deeper purpose" and 18% "scoffed that God has a purpose or plan for everyone" (LifeWay Research).
I'm reminded of the coach who asked a player, "Son, what is it with you? Ignorance or apathy?"
Player: "Coach, I don't know and I don't care."
Essentially, that's the state of religion in America 2012+.
Previous KDs have noted these terrible stats.
85% of American churches are declining.
10+ churches in America close every day.
1400-1500 pastors leave ministry every 30 days.
2% of American church members invited someone to church.
95% of all American churchgoers will never lead anyone to Jesus this year.
The church has not made an impact on the 33,000 people who commit suicide every year; and 150,000 people die every day with a very large percentage of them not knowing the eternal assurances of Jesus because American churchgoers really don't give a...
Yeah, I know some of ya'll wanna argue those stats.
But, geez, if you think America hasn't gone secular, you probably think an elephant is a mouse with glandular problems.
Yeah, there's a remnant of really faithful people in America.
Praise the Lord!
But, sigh, don't confuse a remnant with the majority; and read 2 Chronicles 7:14 while you're at it.
I'm not being negative.
I'm being honest.
And that's why BBPBHO will win by a wider margin this time than last time.
He is exactly what America wants in the White House - a mirror reflection of our increasingly secular nation that doesn't wanna be under God anymore.
So how do we keep faith in 2012+?
Or as I'd like to get a foundation to fund me for some relational research on a topic that just might refresh me and encourage others like me: What It Means to be Faithful in a Country that Doesn't Give a Damn About God Anymore."
If you're reading this and He's movin' ya to think about funding this because foundations seem to want to refresh clergy with "renewal" grants on gardening or interviewing their old seminary needlepoint covenant groups with the idea that, uh, that kinda stuff will refresh clergy for the really important stuff like keeping faith in an increasingly apostate culture, I figure I can do the field research in about six weeks or less for around 10K; so if you've got it, please consider...
Seriously, I'm gonna start in my own family of faith at First in Belvidere - maybe you can send some ideas to me - and ask What It Means to be Faithful in a...
I plan to collate the findings and put out a tract or booklet or, uh, whatever to encourage keeping faith in 2012+.
So if you've got ideas or if, unlike most KDers, you've been financially blessed to bless, how about...
Really, I need some help on practical suggestions on keeping faith in 2012+; and I think there are lots like me out, uh, there.
And while I don't know what to make of it, yet think it relates to my desire for more relational research on it, I keep recalling one of the most dramatic/apocalyptic/compelling moments of my ministry that occurred over three decades ago when I was pastor of Clark, New Jersey's Osceola Presbyterian Church.
Our church would exchange choirs and preachers with an African-American church in Cranford on Wednesdays during Lent.
I'll never forget our first Wednesday together for two reasons.
I saw Paul's vision for authentic faith come alive (viz., Galatians 3:27-28).
I also watched Pastor Alvin do what "they" always did at the end of every service.
Just before the benediction, he went to the big entrance doors of the sanctuary, opened them, turned back toward the congregation, and said, "We open the doors of this church to anyone and everyone who needs Jesus to keep keepin' on."
Then he went outside the doors, waved as in inviting people outside to come in, then came back in, and prayed for people to respond to the next invitation before giving the benediction.
That's stayed with me for over three decades.
I think it has a lot to do with keeping faith in 2012+.
Blessings and Love!