Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Do You Value Church?

posted by Linda Mintle

I was surprised to learn that just 21% of people who call themselves Christians are committed to a community of faith (Faith by George Barna). Even though the Apostles’ Creed affirms that we believe in the communion of saints, many Christians in America feel this is unnecessary to their spiritual maturity.

Add to this another disturbing finding by Willow Creek Association researchers: The longer a person exploring Christ attends church, the less likely he or she is to follow Christ. REVEAL research notes that people who are exploring Christ and attended church for more than five years were more likely to say they were discontented in their spiritual growth than those who attended less than five years (Move by Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, Zondervan, 2011). So what is going on here?

The longer you are in church, the more stalled in your walk you become.? Then why bother to assemble with other believers?

The simply answer? Jesus thought it was a good idea and established the church as a community for believers. But we believers are finding reasons not to meet in a church setting.

Tomorrow, I will share my thoughts as to why people don’t go to church. Love to make this a dialogue. Share your thoughts!

Why do you think so many Christians don’t value going to church?

 

Grey’s Anatomy Gets Christianity Wrong Again

posted by Linda Mintle

Last night I watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, hoping that they would actually write the Christian character right. As in the past, I was sorely disappointed.

Here is what happened. The only virgin of the fifth year residents was staying in a hotel, preparing to take her surgery boards. The night before the boards, everyone was coping in their own way with the stress. April, whose character has refused sex based on her Christian faith, tells us her church was praying for her. The pressure of letting people down was immense. She finds herself with one of the “hottie” surgeons in a bar, drinking. Next thing we know, a man is picking a fight with her because she received his job offer in Cleveland. Clearly having had too much to drink, she physically fights and feels incredible good that she stood up to the guy, goes back to the hotel with her hottie colleague and starts to kiss him at her hotel door. True to the his character, he hesitates, tries to assess whether she really wants to go for sex and continues the sexual encounter. Kepner, drunk, feels good, free and has intercourse as a virgin. As soon as it is over, you can see the regret on her face. She tries to play it off.

The next morning right before the board exams, she is sitting next to the man she slept with and he asks if she is OK. She clearly looks distressed, but then she is about to take her surgical boards. She tells him YES because she loves Jesus. Wow, right out there with the issue. But then is when the writers get it wrong. She says, “Jesus hates me!”The scene ends.

Up til that point, I thought the story line was believable. The pressure to have sex while all her colleagues act out constantly around her has been building. The stress, along with the alcohol, being away from home, create temptations. True to life,  people give in to temptation when they engage versus flee. So far, very realistic.

To be convicted of her behavior because she acted in a way inconsistent with her faith, was really great to show. But to say, “Jesus hates me,” reflects a lack of understanding of our relationship with Christ. Now maybe she felt that in the moment because she was so disappointed with herself, but my fear is that this notion will not be corrected.

Truth is, Jesus didn’t hate her for sinning. A better response would have been, “I have sinned against my God, ” or ” I gave in to something I don’t believe is right,” or “I am so distressed with myself  for going against my beliefs.” Maybe even, “I’ve sinned against my own body.”

Jesus loves her even when she sins and that is the message of the Gospel. Jesus doesn’t condone her sin, hates her sin, but loves her and will never stop loving her. If Grey’s Anatomy will follow up with that correction, I will be OK. But my guess is the writers will get it wrong again like they did with another Christian character they wrote years ago.

This is why we need Christian writers–to thoughtfully deal with real issues like this, but with correct theology.

 

Why We Often Struggle in Our Christian Walk

posted by Linda Mintle

Spend a day watching TV, going to a movie, perusing the news and talking to your co-workers. How often does your faith become a part of the experience?

If you are like me, not often. TV shows rarely, if ever, have a Christian character written by someone who understands Christianity. Usually those characters are weird or eventually give in to secular thought. Movies are the same. And news and features often report on heart-warming stories, but are reluctant to include any God talk.

So does our once a week trek to a local church cut it when it comes to girding us up for daily life? Not so much. We don’t even do church well.

—7% of Christians give 10% or more of their income to God despite the biblical mandate to tithe and watch how God will bless that effort.

—Church volunteering dropped from 26% to 18% from 1991 to 2011. Now we can’t even say that 20% of the congregation does all the work!

—16% of all churchgoers read their Bible daily; 25% read it at all. Maybe this is why we lack the power to overcome difficulty in our lives. We are not putting the Word of God in our hearts.

I’m challenged by these numbers and want to do better. The Word of God is a source of power, encouragement and hope, thus, we need more, not less, in our lives. Perhaps, if we all were more disciplined in filling our minds with Christ and begin obedient to the Word, we would struggle less and live in more peace.

Main Reason Teens Abstain from Sex

posted by Linda Mintle

Mandy is a typical teen, but has decided abstinence is the way to go. Why?

Because she believes that having sex before marriage is morally wrong. She learned that in her youth group at church. Religion made a difference in her thinking.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention did a study that backed up what Mandy is saying. A 2006-2010 survey found that over half of both girls and boys who practiced abstinence, did so for religious reasons. Surprisingly, “avoiding a sexually transmitted disease” was not the main reason to be abstinent.

And despite the sexually saturated media culture, the study also found that the percentage of sexually experienced females declined from 1988 to 2006 (51% to 43%). Furthermore, parents have an impact on their teens’ sexuality. When a girl lives with both parents versus other parental arrangements, , she is less sexually active (35% versus 54%). So parents, don’t give in to the idea that your presence doesn’t matter. Keep talking to your teen about the importance of abstinence.

Finally, more good news that you won’t hear from general media. Since the “True Love Waits” campaign began and sexual abstinence was presented as an alternative to having sex, teen sexual activity has dropped every year. Religion does matter and provides a moral grounding!

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