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The Church at prayer

For years, there was a saying – “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good!” In the 70’s, I wondered if that was possible, but I was young. There is much to be said about maturity!

Not long ago, I was browsing favorite reading sites online, and tucked between articles about the Trayvon murder, the disastrous US economy, and the horrors of Islam both here and abroad, was an obscure article with a headline that caught my eye, but for the wrong reason. It’s been sticking in my claw since then. I wish I could describe the response of my heart … The headline was “Should the Church only Use the King James version of the Bible?” It could just as easily read any of the dozens of incidental issues that bog down believers from the real issues:

  • Is baptism for today? Should one be dipped or sprinkled?
  • What about “tongues,” and the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” – for today? for what purpose?
  • The “Rapture” – pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib?
  • Which denomination is more Biblical?

*NOTE: For the purpose of this article, my use of the word Church, includes all denominations, all those who have called on the name of Jesus for salvation. The use of the word church, will be replaced with local assembly or local congregation.

Back to my response at seeing that headline: I was incensed! I was angry not at the writer of the article, but at the religious spirit that so overshadows the American Church…that religious spirit that makes people too heavenly minded to be any earthly good! I used to live there.

The truth of the matter is that many local congregations of both Christian (incl. Catholic) and Jewish designation have lost themselves somewhere between the issues of this life and those of the next. While many congregations have established some sort of help for those less fortunate, a soup kitchen or clothing closet, the majority of congregants either do not participate or do so legalistically – it’s the thing to do! For such a huge “organization,” it remains virtually ineffective in re-directing society. Have you noticed?

A recent Poll finds 77 percent of Americans believe Christ rose from the dead! If 77% of our nation’s population actually LIVED as close to the way Jesus lived as humanly possible, and worked at self-improvement to grow more into His likeness everyday, perhaps those who call themselves atheists or agnostics would see the reality of Jesus. If the Church actually poured out the love of God stringlessly into the hurting, confused, and lonely people around us one by one, perhaps we’d see a reduction in the violence, a reduction in unwanted pregnancies, a reduction in the number of children and families going to bed hungry or cold, a reduction in the number of homeless huddled together under bridges and behind strip malls. We’re NOT doing our JOB, CHURCH!

As our religious freedoms come under political attack, it is clear that decades of “reprogramming” has been successfully accomplished right under our heaven-pointed noses. We’ve been silent in the face of violence. We’ve been silent in the face of compromise. We’ve been silent in the face of the slaughter of millions of unborn babies. We’ve been silent too long, my friends. Why? Because we were told our religion was meant to stay within the walls of our local assemblies – within the building. Now, the salt as lost is savor. There is little difference between those of us who call ourselves believers and those who do not.

I believe whole-heartedly, if we come out from behind those walls, we’d find out the positive influence we can have in society, if we aspire to live and love like Christ. We’d find out where we stand on the vital issues of today:

  • Should Christians be Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?
  • Whose responsibility is it to tend the poor? Government or the Church?
  • Is it possible for our young people to remain chaste in a culture that preaches sex from every media orifice?
  • How can we hope for improvement in social mores if we don’t aspire to civility and virtue ourselves?
  • What about the “War on Women”?
  • Should the Church allow openly gay and lesbian believers into their congregations?

The Catholic Church has taken a stand on many of these issues, but what about the rest of us? Count the cost, and take a stand! As believers, our lives should be defined, not by our words, but by the love – God’s love – flowing freely and unchecked from our lives. We talk the talk, but we must do better at walking the walk! We are Jesus’ hands and feet – but we are also His Heart to this generation! Look OUTWARD, and let grace and mercy lead us!