Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Casual Christianity

A few years ago, George Barna, who produces polling data that is helpful in analyzing the church in modern day America, came up with some findings that were not very encouraging. In a study of "moral behavior" the sad conclusion was that for the most part Christians are very much like the world when it comes to behavior. In areas like abortion, internet pornography, lying, adultery and pre-marital sex, the church looked slightly better than the world. Statistically there was some difference, but for the most part the church looked far too much like the world.

It seems that what the church is producing today are churchgoers instead of disciples for Christ. Churchgoers could be summarized as: comfortable; convenient; casual; cultural; compromised.

Comfortable Christianity is faith without suffering. Willingness to suffer for the faith is normative in the Christian experience throughout the world. We have seen that suffering in areas like Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda and the Sudan.

Convenient Christianity has self at the center, not Christ. Churchgoers tend to worship when they want to worship, work when they want to work, give what they want to give and participate in only those programs that suit them. Sacrifice is not in the vocabulary. The disciplines of study, ministry, stewardship, prayer and witness are seen as options rather than a commitment to growing in Christ.

Casual Christianity is like the seed that was sown in the shallow soil. There may be an initial excitement about the faith, but without depth. When difficulty or other priorities come they quickly wither.

Cultural Christianity is a faith that is more influenced by the world around us than by the kingdom of God. Culture, not kingdom sets priorities. Church takes second place to the social activities on the calendar. When confronted with a choice, far too often the world wins. Only committed disciples make the choice for the eternal things of the kingdom.

Compromised Christians have lost the fire and passion of the Gospel...Many Christians want to hear what makes them feel good rather than being challenged by the Gospel....

It is through the cross that our sins are forgiven and we are brought into right relationship with God. It is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are given the hope of eternal life with God. May the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ shape and transform your life that you will have a passion for the good news that God has given us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
—The Rev. William T. Luley, St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Manchester, Missouri. Quoted from The Michaelmas A.D. 2005 issue of The Anglican Digest.


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