Given recent events in my life and the shift in readership of this blog, I have found the need to lay a different sort of foundation for my thoughts and this forum. It has occurred to me that I have kept many of my thoughts buried for many reasons, not the least of which was fear of being alone in my position and fear of being rejected by those in my faith community.
However, circumstances be as they may, I have come to a place where I must either make the leap or pack up and head home. And I have not been one to pack it in. What follows is largely a private journey that I have been on for more than the last decade. It began as my faith and worldview began to be deconstructed in the course of college classes, oddly enough at a private Christian university. My journey had led me to places where I have had the honor of rubbing shoulders with schizophrenics, prostitutes, and criminals as well as “Christians,” atheists, and the spiritually apathetic. In the course of the last several years I have come to the firm belief that we all have much more that unites us than separates us.
In the course of seeing life for myself, I have come to a very controversial and potentially alienating conclusion: the church is dying. For a time I did not want anything to do with it, but never have recanted my faith. What follows are some of my candid thoughts about the state of the church, its (our) sins and my hope for its redemption.
Further Reflections on a Day Among Atheists at the Creation Museum
In a sea of T-Shirts bearing scarlet ‘A’s and pictures of Charles Darwin, one man’s garment did not fit.
Standing in line for our tickets, I noticed him right away. At first all I really noticed were the words “heaven” and “NOT,” and at that glance figured is was a slam against the idea of an afterlife and pearly gates in the sky somewhere over the rainbow. Then I became quite surprised: this particular atheist sported excellent Christian theology! Later when I saw him inside the museum noticed what was written on the back:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this NOT from yourselves, it is the gift of God— NOT by works, so that no one can boast.
The irony was amazing! Here I was, a Christian passing as an atheist, and I end up running into an atheist who decided to wear perfect Christian theology on his shirt.
Skeptics Among Us: Atheists Visit the Creation Museum
What follows is a video tour of the Creation Museum put together by a group of atheists (and an agnostic) that toured on the day of our visit as “Christians In Cognito.” Some of what you may witness may make your hair stand on end, but just accept it as a chance to practice tolerance. Overall, they ask some very important questions.
Please share your thoughts below. I am definitely interested in whatever reaction you may have, good or bad.
For those of you who have been following me for some time know that I have had to do this before: click here if you missed it.
Several people have mentioned to me concern about a recent post regarding Starbucks as a model for the marketing of the church. While I thought that I had dunked it in my vat of sarcasm enough for it to ooze and drip, apparently it was not quite obvious enough.
Seriously, though my honest thoughts on marketing the church are that it is important to look professional and not like we just rolled out of bed to preach the gospel. The message of Christ, however, should always speak for itself, with no need for help from us. The Word of God is living and breathing, alive and active.
Frankly, I am ashamed of churches that put so much time, money, and attention into branding a sermon series or making sure that they do something to get on the evening news that they miss what is most important. If you undercut the gospel message to sell your product, then what are you really doing it for?
Again appreciation to those who challenged me about that post, and you know who you are. I hope that you will chose to make your comments public next time so that we can use this as a forum to challenge one another through dialogue. To those who have stopped reading accordingly and who may never read this I would say the same thing.
If you say some of the things I do then you are bound to get some of them wrong. That is the beauty of the community we share as followers of Christ: when we get out of line we can be confident in gentle, although firm correction and challenge.