Posted by: pastordarren | January 13, 2009

America’s Faith?

The Barna Group, an organization which does interviews and research to explore where people stand on certain issues that affect our lives.  They recently released the results of a survey entitled, “Christianity Is No Longer Americans’ Default Faith“.  This title struck me as very interesting, primarily for the world ‘default’.  To me, the word default means the norm or something that is preset or determined – the default settings on your computer.  To read the article, click the link above.

This article, or just the title, may cause you to wonder and bring out some strong feelings in you, especially if you have grown up in the church.  As the article says, many times we assume that if we were born in America, and grew up in America that we are Christian, but that is not a good thing necessarily and is certainly not the case in our world today.

Let me tell you why it is not a good thing in my opinion.  There maybe a bit of rambling, so please bear with me.  If a person is expected to be a Christian because they live here then Christianity has become too easy and the uniqueness has been taken away.  If by default I’m a Christian, then I don’t have to do anything about it, I just am.

With that mind set, there is not really any reason to attend church, study, pray, practice spiritual disciplines, be in community with other believers, etc.  It also affects what we say and do about our faith with others.  If we have the idea that everyone is by default a Christian, then what is the purpose of sharing with others there is nothing special?  OR  If what I believe is special and different, will it offend others if I talk about it?

Let me give you a bit of my feelings –

First, is that I agree that the Christian faith is not, and has not been the default religion in America.  At one time it was expected that you go to a Christian denominational church but not any more.  There is many who get their spiritual guidance from the internet, personal feelings, and other religious traditions.  Also many are tired of the institutional church and because of a lot of different things, have rejected much of what it stands for eventhough they follow Jesus.

Secondly, I believe that the Christian message of love, forgiveness, and discipleship IS unique and needs to be shared with those who are open to hear and if it is done with love and respect.  We also have to live that out each and every day.  As believers in Jesus, we are in the world but we should not be of the world.  That will specifically mean different things to different people, but generally it will mean that through our actions and words we should be distinguishable from the world around us.  That does not just mean wearing Christian clothing or jewlery, listening to Christian music, etc, butshould go deeper.  Our hearts, minds, attitudes, and perspecitives should be different and transformed by God’s presence in our lives each day.

I will share more about these two things later, but look forward to hearing from you and your reaction to the article and my comments.

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