Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Why Are Things Like They Are?”

If you are like me, I have begun to find the news media coverage of current events very disturbing. There has been a rise in the coverage of family murder/ suicides. Some people blame the decline in the economy, the government, and even the change in climate but statistically there have been more of these tragedies that have taken place in the last few months. Anxiety, fear, and uncertainty seem to be the underlining cause of most of the problems we face each and every day. Lack of resources for the availability for help for those individuals struggling adds this toxic environment. So who or whom is to blame? The answer might surprise you. It is us, the church. In researching FCC’s role in the future I came across an article written by George Barna a researcher and the leading expert in church statistics and growth. “We have shifted our energy from a willingness to work hard toward achieving significant outcomes to an attitude of entitlement,” Barna noted. “We expect the market to pander to our needs in customized and personalized ways, producing a fragmented marketplace. We have transitioned from having a commitment to the common good based on shared values to an emphasis on personal good and individual values.”
“In the midst of all these – and other – transitions,” Barna continued, “our religious communities have not adapted well to the challenges of the day. Rather than facilitate people’s commitment to positive, life-affirming values and dedication to serving others, and living a balanced and moral life, churches and other ministries have fallen prey to the competitive spirit of the American system. Many of our religious organizations have focused on competing for bodies, dollars and talent rather than upholding core values. Without our faith communities playing their historic role as the moral and spiritual leaders of the nation, we have taken our values cues from the political and business sectors. That has lowered the bar on character and vision. That, in turn, has led the nation to deteriorate from a place on unity amidst diversity to a place of individualism amidst competition for personal comfort and supremacy.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” In our lives our ears have to be fixed on the voice of the one who leads us, our Savior Jesus Christ. It is critical we live out our core values: integrity, compassion, grace, service, unity, spirituality, and identity in all we do. If not we are contributing to the decay of what we hold so dear. See ya in church but until then listen to the good shepherd.

Until we meet again take care of yourself and one another,