“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 22, NO. 33&34 – ANNE RICE
Is she right? Yes. Christians who are hostile and disputatious seem to be growing in numbers. Is she wrong? Yes. She is wrong the same way the people are who say all Muslims are terrorists. She has lumped all Christians into one pot. That is not fair, any more than any kind of bigotry about anyone is fair. She has been hurt. I can understand. It has been said that the Christian army is the only one that shoots its own troops.
However, I do think she has touched on a serious problem. The polls taken indicate that the late teens and twenty-somethings are rejecting organized religion in record numbers. When asked why, the most common answer is the self-righteous, judgmental, critical attitude of Christians. Are they right? Yes. Are they wrong? Yes. Both they and Anne Rice have narrowed their view. They, like so many of us, see only the things that are upsetting about Christianity, and there are many. What they don’t see, because it is not as vocal and not always visible, are the countless Christians who live to help and serve others in their needs in this country and around the world.
From what I read (and remember about myself) young people want a reason to live that is more than making money and buying things. If the church does not offer that, but instead is only interested in a certain doctrine which separates them from all the so-called Christians who are wrong, they will, and are, looking elsewhere.
In recent articles in the local paper, there was featured a local church that had plowed up its yard and planted a vegetable garden. The young people tended it and were able to deliver thirty some bags of fresh produce to the Rescue Mission. In case you’re wondering, our property is too shaded for a garden. In another story, a mother of five lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. The story is too long to recount, but someone gave her a car that needed a transmission. A local dealer who was a member of her church had a transmission put in at no cost. The whole story was how her friends, nearly all of them Christians, have helped her to remain solvent in these hard times. That’s how Jesus said you could tell who was one of his followers, by their fruit.
Anyone who has any kind of doctrine based on a claim to Christ can call themselves Christian. What Anne Rice sees are those I’d call “the ugly Christians.” I might not even call them Christian at all, based on what they teach and how they treat those around them. I don’t want to wear out an old adage, but just because you sit in a garage doesn’t make you a car. Likewise, just sitting in church doesn’t make you a Christian.
I know that sounds judgmental, and, of course, it is. But it is said without assuming that any of our lives are a true reflection of Jesus in what we say and do. Much of the time we are a poor reflection.
Jesus talked about the “light” in us, verses the darkness. He said he was the “light of the world.” Light and darkness are the two determinations of how much Christ is reflected in the Christian’s life. So rather than assume everyone who uses the name Christian is, or is not one, we need to look at how much of the teachings and nature of Jesus can be seen in their lives.
We are all a little dim. None of us is “fullness and light” That’s not the problem. The problem is how much darkness fills our lives by our lack of love for each other and shirking the ethical teachings of Jesus concerning those around us.
The gas that runs the Christian is, “Love each other (everyone) as I have loved you.”
Monday: John 5:19-30
Tuesday: Phil. 1:19-30
Wednesday: Genesis 7:1-24
Thursday: Lam. 1:8-16
Friday: Romans 8:12-25
Saturday: Psalm 133&134
Monday: Psalm 46
Tuesday: John 14:1-11
Wednesday: Psalm 66:1-20
Thursday: Isaiah 26:1=4
Friday: Matthew 5:1-16
Saturday: I John 2:7-11, 15-17
Even though the bulletin is being written before the Labor Day Weekend Bar B Que, we already know, because of what may be a record number who have signed up that it was great! The meat was slow cooked to perfection. We started at 3:00 AM. Chef Jeff out did himself with the rub. Plus it was a beautiful day.
This is the twenty-first year for the Bar B Que and it gets better all the time. If there is food left over we may enjoy it again after the morning service.
Since most of you get this bulletin before Saturday, remember there will be a special presentation about an hour or so before we eat on Saturday. This will be a wrap-up of VBS and will include a film and an introduction to the new film soon to be released in the Chronicles of Narnia series. This will take place in the annex.
What a joy it was to hear the reports from those who went to Guatemala to work with Clinica Cristiana. AC Branch was one of the most talked about workers at the end of the week. It was such a life-changing experience for her that she not only wants to go back, but has decided medicine will be her career. You can’t do what Jesus would do without becoming a new person in the process.
Brice Reid’s soccer team must help raise support for various things and they are having a yard sale in the church parking lot next month on Oct. 17. They are asking for donated items they can sell. If you have some things, see Susan Jordan.
Remember, if you get a Kroger gift card from the Rescue Mission or a Food Lion card, either at the store or @ foodlionmvprewards.com 5% of all you spend there will go to aid the Rescue Mission. The Kroger card will cost $5 at the Mission, and that money is added to your card when you add money at Kroger.
The money you add to the Kroger card applies to the discount you receive if you buy gas at a Kroger gas station, so it’s really a good deal all around, and those are helped who need the kind of help the Mission provides.