Revelation Chapters 19-22

I finished my series on the book of Revelation last night, not without some bit of sadness. Certainly I feel the accomplishment of having made it through such a challenging study, but I also feel like my involvement with The House ministry is wrapping up too. In any case, I’ve enjoyed preparing for these studies and I’ve learned a TON. I feel like my knowledge of scripture and of God’s plan has been profoundly affected by the book of Revelation. Continue reading “Revelation Chapters 19-22” »

The End of Church In America?

It’s been interesting as I’ve been beginning the ordination process with my church to think about denominational identity. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t say that I have one (though I’m definitely being ordained by a denomination and a church that is strongly part of that denomination). I would say that I feel quite ecumenical, in the sense that I believe more in the Church universal than I do in any particular denomination. In a sense, I’m disillusioned by many church’s club-like mentality. Apparently, I’m not alone.

This article proclaims the headline “Young Americans Losing Their Religion”, though the details of the story don’t quite back that up. It points to a recent study that says that 30-40% of younger Americans claim no religious affiliation. This is a trend that has been increasing since the 90’s, and I’m not terribly surprised by it. This generation, more than any other, seeks to know itself, and in the process will claim no identity. What’s more interesting is that this group, while not affiliating themselves religiously, are not necessarily atheists either.
What it sounds like to me, is that America is breeding a generation of spiritual orphans who’ve either abandoned or rejected their background in faith, but not necessarily to give it up entirely. It is, in a sense, a modern day reformation; millions of Martin Luther’s nailing their thesis on the proverbial door of the Church. As the article points out, these youngsters have become disillusioned with an institutional church that seems to espouse mere political or doctrinal views. This view of American churces is, I believe, in large part true. And as a generation that seeks meaning, today’s youth will reject that.
And this is why Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven is as “near” 2,000 year ago as it is now. Today’s youth want to hear that the Church is not just a club of believers all holding the same doctrine or political inclination, but a force for real meaning and change in the world that effects every day life as much as it effects eternity. Of course, this is what the Church should be. But in America, church leaders have become sidetracked, concerned with affecting society from the top down while the roots wither away.