Recently, WOW News’ The Pew Forum released a gripping study entitled “Faith in Flux” that is certain to make you scratch your head and wonder just what people have been doing while “walking with God.”
And don’t worry, this is equal-opportunity sequestering. So, first, I would like to get all those who consider themselves “Catholic” to huddle up close to the warmth of your monitor as you see what has been uncovered of your ilk.
Of those surveyed raised Catholic and are now unaffiliated, why?
- 71% just “gradually drifted away”. Hrm. If only all that Latin and liturgy was more entertaining. It’s not a movie people, it’s God!
- 56% were not happy with the church’s abortion teachings. Liberalism in the church? Anyone? So the news and Hollywood has more sway than God. Nice.
- 43% said their spiritual needs were not met. Yeah, that happens when the youth group goes suddenly vacant. (Giggle).
- 27% advised it was the clergy sexual abuse scandal. And who could blame them?!
What about those Catholics who decided to flip and go Protestant?
- 70% found a “religion” they liked more. Well, unless they went to Buddha or Mohammed, they didn’t find a religion people. It was more like a denomination shift change during study hall. Oy! Oh, there’s another one!
- 32% were dissatisfied with the atmosphere at worship services. Um, were you expecting the Pope to break out with the “Top 10 Feng Shui tips to attract more parishioners”?
- 21% were unhappy with the rule that priests couldn’t marry. Yeah, 100 percent of those results were from priests.
Protestants. Yeah, I’m talking to you, heathens. So, why are you now unaffiliated with the Church?
- 71% just drifted away from religion. Anyone seeing a trend here? More on that in a minute.
- 50% stopped believing in the religion’s teachings. And I’ll bet 100% of my rent that it was because of WHO was doing the teaching.
- 25% were dissatisfied with the clergy over the congregation. So, I guess the other half were asked the question within hearing range of their former pastor. Just a thought.
What about the reasons you joined another faith within the Protestant Reformation… er, another church?
- 85% enjoy the newer services and style of worship. Anyone still going to argue with Joel, Bill, Ed and the boys? Bueller?
- 50% were called by God. Hrm. Wonder what happened with the other 50% who didn’t answer the phone?
- 36% were attracted by a particular minister. See above at 85%.
Now time for the rant:
1. What is with all this “just drifting away”? Do you mean to tell me Jesus went to the cross for people to wake up one day and tell the Lord, “We can just be friends”?! Um, not so much. Regardless if I am one of those once-saved, always-saved folk (and I am… NOTE: John 3:15-18, John 10:28-30 and Jude 24), but I question whether those drifters were ever serious about their relationship with God in the first place.
If you personally discover what it means to be saved, to be redeemed, why on earth would you try something else? Are chill bumps that addictive? Does God really bless you in the club? Wherever they find themselves, the most miserable person in the world is a truly backslidden Christian.
Drifted. That’s a load. The only thing these wayfaring, lukewarm toadstools drifted from is the regimen of being a Christian. Yes, Jesus welcomes you just as you are. But it’s his house now.
Brother… Sister… you gonna’ take a bath to wash off that muck and mire before you step foot in his crib. (NOTE: The slick advertisement in the picture). Think you won’t? Well, um, there’s another place that is a bit more balmy where you can get your ashy feet anywhere you want. But don’t say you weren’t warned.
2. Who are we walking with anyway? Last I checked the noted poem in small churches across the country, “Footprints in the Sand,” the only time we aren’t walking with God is when he is carrying us! Jesus isn’t that interested in people who can’t commit. With all that “spew you out of my mouth” stuff, I figure massaging his tonsils is not where I would be crazy about hanging. Perhaps these knobby-kneed folk didn’t get that far in their personal journey through the Bible?
Whatever the case, if you want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, look up… not down. Keep your eyes on the ground and you could bump into something that will slam your face hard. You know, like an Episcopal church that says it embraces everyone, only to discover that embrace is a skosh more intense among same-sex groups. Now, now, Jesus loves all people. And there is nothing wrong with a person who says he or she is swinging that way… except for the way you are heading if no one has the temerity to tell you what is really up.
Aside from the analogy, if you are walking with the King of Kings, ask a brother for his sandals. If your feet are hurting that bad and you don’t feel like walking any more, maybe you just need to walk a mile in his shoes.
3. There’s something afoot among Protestants. Now, this is purely subjective because I am one, but what up with those statistics. It’s almost trendy to shop for churches like clothes. “Well, that preacher just doesn’t fit what I need.” Or, “The youth group wasn’t as exciting as an arcade. Let’s go to Dave N’ Busters.” How about, “How come everyone is in these fancy suits? I like my jeans. I’m out.” And then there’s, “Gurl. Look at that heifer in the choir. You know they just keep her in the middle to make the choir look bigger.”
Whatever the case, people are transient with their theology more and more every day. Whatever happened with all the biblical analogies comparing us as trees?! If you are going to make a difference in any church, you must set your roots deep. Because lets be honest, churches would be perfect if it weren’t for all those people who walk in there and set down their blessed assurance wherever they feel.
Stay awhile. You will get offended. And if you do… so what? Who are you there to worship? God Almighty or some huckster in a fancy suit?
Listen, here’s where all this walking leads us:
God doesn’t tempt us to sin (James 1:13). He doesn’t even lead us into temptation (Matthew 6:9-13). He leads us through love and grace. If you end up somewhere you shouldn’t be, guess whose brillance you have to blame?
Your apathy brought you there. Your discontent kept you there. Your billigerence prevents you from being welcomed anywhere else.
All that is outside of God. Remember him? Your walking buddy?
Deuteronomy 8:6 tells us to “observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him.”
People can observe. You know, if it’s from the cheap seats. They can even walk, providing they are permitting potty breaks every 10 minutes. But the “reverence” thing. Tsk. Folk have issues with that. Why? We let them.
So I’ll end not with a verse but with a maxim:
Walking with a friend in the dark is far better than walking alone in the light. ~Helen Keller
I… well… you know, I got nothing. That says it all. Happy walking, Church.