Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What REALLY Matters

As much as I am a political cynic, it has been difficult not to pay attention to the political happenings of late. Republicans and Democrats alike are divided on candidates. Political pundits find themselves at odds with polls and their readers and listeners. Many Republicans are arguing over the definition of “conservative” (which points to the problem of labels). Some Democrats can’t decide if voting against Sen. Obama means one is racist or voting against Sen. Clinton means one is sexist (again, a problem of labels). The upcoming political conventions do not promise to bring anything other than more divisiveness. Some people are even threatening not to vote. If the polls are correct, our country is very polarized in its opinions and political leanings.

Ya think? (Insert a grin and a “Well, duh!” here).

I think the growing dissatisfaction among Americans is because something is missing in their lives. I share the opinions of others when I say that I think people are missing something to believe in and something to count on. And I believe that something is God.

Most people believe in a Supreme Being. But less than 50% of Americans are churched. The top four reasons, according to research: (1) “What am I going to get out of it?” (2) “Church feels like a clique – I don’t belong and I feel like people really don’t want me there.” (3) “The Church is more interested in my money than me.” (4) “What about my baby and children? Is the Church’s childcare trustworthy?”

Guess what? These aren’t theological or doctrinal reasons – they are practical reasons.

In the weeks to come, we are going to be talking about restructuring our church in the way we program and do business. I want us to center on three things: (1) How can we best make disciples and change lives? (2) How can we transform the community we live in? (3) How can we renew the church?

At the church leadership training day last Sunday, I was reminded of a Latin phrase I haven’t heard since seminary: Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda. That was the phrase of the Protestant Reforma-tion: the Reformed Church must always be reforming. In other words, if we are to be a vital church, we must always be reforming. Change is inevitable in a changing world. What we must be willing to do is constantly remind ourselves: It is not about what we want to do; what does God want us to do?

That might be a good prayer to center on in our Lenten journey: What does God want us to do?


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