A steeple is perhaps the most distinguishing architectural feature of churches. When you see a steeple, you think “church.” There was a time when churches were at the center of villages. And the steeple, pointing to heaven, indicated this community belongs to God.
During the 1970’s, I was pastor of a wonderful young church. The membership was composed of young families with lots of young children. It was an ideal opportunity for an energetic young pastor like me.
However, I quickly realized we had a problem. I could not accommodate all the pastoral expectations of the congregation.
The shift over the last few decades in church has been noticeable — and that’s a good thing. We have gone from wearing suits and ties and dresses and skirts, to wearing our jeans and holding our iced lattes as we gather for Sunday service.
And gone are the days where we hear the explanations for last Sunday when we missed.
In recent years, I have had the opportunity to travel overseas a few times. Each time that I have visited a foreign land, I have returned to the United States with a renewed confidence in the formation of God’s Kingdom in the here and now and how God consistently works through people who simply make themselves available to God’s presence.
Whatever happened to evangelism? It’s a fair question. It’s a good question. But it’s one which needs unpacking. Asking whatever happened to evangelism is not the same as asking, “Why don’t we have revival meetings anymore?”
I have been an outsider among judgmental people. I know how it feels to walk into a room and for people to think they know who you are the moment they see you because of the neighborhood where you grew up or your family life circumstances.
We grew up in a predominantly African American neighborhood called the Ville in North St. Louis City. The Bible asks the question, “What good can come from Nazareth?” The question could be reworded to ask, “What good can come from the Ville?”
By Robert H. Nelson, Religion News Service|
May 12, 2017
The question of whether a God exists is heating up in the 21st century. According to a Pew survey, the percentage of Americans having no religious affiliation reached 23 percent in 2014. Among such “nones,” 33 percent said that they do not believe in God – an 11 percent increase since only 2007.
Regarding the discipline of practicing Sabbath (Jews prefer the Hebrew word “Shabbat”), I have read and written many sermons and articles. But nothing brings this floating, vague theological notion down out of the clouds like spending time with real, living, breathing Orthodox Jews who lovingly practice their faith.