Up the Creek Without a Paddle?
Without question the Church is currently losing the battle to shape American culture. The negative effects seem to taint every facet of society and all of our valiant efforts have been unable to reverse this terrible trend. We are especially paying the price in broken lives, both young and old.
A considerable degree of effort has gone into understanding and reversing this painful decline, but the decay continues. Unfortunately it continues to the degree that our culture’s influence on the church far exceeds the church’s level of influence on our society. Even if we don’t change the world around us, at the very least the Church should be able to wax strong in the midst of any earthly opposition. We do serve the living God!
Personally I don’t think these issues are always as complicated as we make them to be. Regardless of a myriad of symptoms, the bottom line is that the decline of Christianity in the western world is due to a loss of life. Of course, we have many forms of religion, but as a whole the life-flow of God is lacking in our midst.
Without the life of God strengthening the Church and making it healthy, the tide will continue to be turned in the wrong direction. It’s not about relevance, strategies and techniques (although these do have their place), but about the people of God being filled with the life of God to the point that His vitality overflows into the world around us. Just as light is always greater than darkness, from an eternal perspective, life will always win out over death. Too often, however, our man-made structures and our need to be in control restrict the life of God from flowing freely in our midst.
While I certainly believe that more than one root cause is contributing to what ails us, I would like to spend some time focusing on one in particular—the lack of unity in the Body of Christ.
I plan to develop this extremely important theme in the coming weeks, but for now I find it helpful to firmly establish the connection between unity and life.
Psalm 133 – Living in Harmony – A Davidic song of ascents. (HCSB)
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers can live together! It is like fine oil on the head, running down on the beard, running down Aaron’s beard, on his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon falling on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord has appointed the blessing— life forevermore.”
The application of this particular Psalm is far reaching and certainly reflective of God’s heart. Let there be no doubt! When God’s people dwell on this earth together in a Christ-centered unity, heaven imparts life to earth.
Are we up the creek without a paddle? I don’t think so. However, the current against us is so strong that we really need to learn how to paddle together if we are going to get anywhere good.