Closing Doors #5 A Sliver of Light

prayer_for_usaAs we follow Christianity across the ocean to the Americas you must, by now, see that I have been covering large swaths of history in a single ¾ page offering. This has been unfair. Excellent books have covered far less time periods in far more pages. So this will be the final entry in my cosmic fly-over of the church and its interface with the world around it.

     From 1850 to the present, colossal revolutions swept the Church. The rise of American denominationalism, the struggle over the slavery issue, the Civil War, two World Wars, terrible conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, the Middle East, and a seemingly endless cold war with Russia have overshadowed the Church’s stance in the public forum.

     Add to that the divisive nature of “Christian” personality cults, our flip-flops during the civil-rights movements, and Westboro Baptist Church’s antics, have all placed the Church at odds with the secular society around us. More recently, the conundrum over LGBTQ issues and the “cocooning” of many evangelical churches and ministries, the faith we love is pretty much a joke for the majority of the nation.

     On the plus side, the field meetings of Charles Finney, the urban popularity of Billy Sunday, and the incredible ministry of Billy Graham have done much to keep a positive spin on the true nature of the Christian faith. The ‘70s Jesus People ushered in a new face for a more youthful Christian expression. And where would we be without contemporary Christian music (Hillsong, Rend Collective); even the mainstream music industry has to take notice.

     So how do we keep these doors open so the waiting world can at least see a sliver of light of who we are?

     Well, at the least we need to unlock the doors from our side. Replacing Kingdom language (King, Lord) with less medieval constructs might be a good place to start. And fewer thee’s and thou’s mighteth help. Charles & John Wesley utilized popular well known tunes and put Christian lyrics to them. We’ve got a good jump on that; let’s keep going.

     90% – 95% of Church activities revolve around itself. Think we could change that?!? And what about revising that judgmental attitude toward others?!? Maybe a little more forgiving this time around?

     We could, believe it or not, get involved in local government, or run for public office! Maybe even start a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, or a CEO’s Confidentiality Consortium. When I lived in the northeast, I was asked to join the Pioneer Valley Gentlemen’s Whiskey Association because I was a Christian. Go figure. Opening doors.

     God does not want any of us to spend the rest of our days cloistered inside our churches: well, unless you‘re the Pope; and even ee gets out!

     Our place is one of intermingling with the people of our society; both with those of influence and those who don’t have a place to sleep tonight. What has the Lord called you to? Get there. And bring the peace, forgiveness, and joy of our Lord with you.

 … a glimmer in the dust,

  Gary

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Aftermath


Tragedy
 strikes all of us at one time or another. Whether it be death of a loved one or the devastation of home & livelihood its effects upon us are shattering. The experience, the loss, is overwhelming; it crushes our spirit and sucks out our very life’s-breath. Most of us have experienced such tragedies in our lives, leaving us empty and numb. Words of comfort and solace barely get through my blank detachment.

Then comes the aftermath— sorting through the remnants of a life, trying to rebuild, trying to make sense of the physical and personal destruction that has just consumed every fiber of your being. There are the BIG things— replacing a home, a business, a livelihood; taking care of children, parents, employees, those who are crushed and exhausted. For some, it means even rebuilding a country after a catastrophic national disaster or defeat. Yes, these things must be addressed, even though your energies are already spent.

In some way, though, it is the small things that are more difficult to deal with— the loss of photos, of a history that was filled with joy and frivolity; a loss of trinkets, personal gifts, torn shreds of clothing that once draped a loved one in grace & beauty. Memories all, now gone.

It is in the aftermath of destruction & loss that our metal is proven. It is the manner in which we face the aftermath that we reveal our courage or collapse into a mire of grief & despondency. There is not always hope after some of the volleys life sends our way. But there is always strength to be found in arms of the God who created us, sustains us, and now carries us…, if we will but let Him do so.

Never discount the succor and rejuvenation that flow from the Life-Source of all Being. The God of the Universe— Jesus Christ.

Have a nice week,

Gary