THIS SUNDAY, 4/11
- Sammy begins a brand new series on the family!
- Exciting announcements regarding our ‘For the Kingdom’ debt retirement campaign.
- Don’t forget to continue your ‘maps & lists’ to help you stay mindful of those in your oikos who need Christ.
OH, THIS IS GOING TO BE GOOD! Sunday, April 18th; 5pm; Rm 108
- Please make plans to attend. I’m asking that all Sunday School/Small Group leadership make this a priority.
- You have my word that I won’t break the 11th Commandment, ‘Thou Shalt Not Bore.’ I guarantee your teaching skills will be enriched, your heart will be encouraged, and your mind/thinking will be challenged.
- Plus,…. it’s just going to be downright fun.
THE RISE OF THE ‘NONES’
Our staff has been enjoying researching and discussing the current North American church climate. It is no surprise that regular church attendance has greatly declined (despite the vast majority of Americans claiming they believe in God.)
But the intriguing demographic that continues to steadily grow is what sociologists call ‘nones’. In short, ‘nones’ have no religious affiliation. They’re not connected to any church, but they’re not hostile to church either.
Dr. Holly Ordway was the Dean of the School of Christian Thought & Apologetics at HBU when I was in grad school there. She is brilliant and a former ardent atheist. In her book, ‘Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms,’ she wrote,
Atheists, ‘nones,’ and fallen-away Catholics are not ignorant of the existence of the Gospel; they just find it dull, incomprehensible, or meaningless. This presents a fundamentally different problem than sharing the Gospel with people who have never heard it before. …We have to be answering the questions people actually have, not the ones that we think they should have, or that we happen to feel most confident addressing.”
“…they just find it dull, incomprehensible, or meaningless.” (Ouch)
This is yet another reason why we’re coming together on April 18th to sharpen our teaching and shepherding skills.
***By the way, I strongly recommend Dr. Ordway’s book, Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith. I consumed it in very little time. There is a reason stories like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia connect so deeply with so many. We all have an innate longing for adventure. Yet, for most of us the adventure takes place primarily in our God-given imagination (have you ever thought of how our imagination is a precious gift from God?). The arts and stories draw us in and, as Dr. Ordway asserts, “they give meaning to the data.” In other words, as a picture says a thousand words, the arts and stories help us better understand the meaning of the data/content being taught. This is precisely why Jesus taught so often in parables, appealing to the imagination of the people by telling stories about sheep, vineyards, salt and light. The late atheist ,Christopher Hitchens’s brother, Peter (a Christian) once said, “You will have more success connecting with an atheist with poetry than with debate,” meaning their heart will be touched, allowing their mind to be open. Is it a coincidence that our Bible contains so much poetry (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and more)? 🙂
I’M SITTING IN & LEARNING WITH YOU (sort of)
- Twice I have joined a class on Sunday morning at 9:15. And twice I’ve been late getting back for the invitation at the end of the 9:15 worship service. The problem? The teaching and learning is so good I don’t want to leave!
- So, for now, I won’t be attending classes at 9:15. But, since I don’t normally lead music in the late service, I should be able to continue to sit in with the 10:45 classes (and the one class at 8am). I’ll contact you before I show up.
TOP TWENTY TIPS FOR TURNING CHRISTIAN CHILDREN INTO ATHEIST ADULTS
For No’s 1-5 please see last week’s Navigator.
Sarah Salviander has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics who was raised with an atheistic worldview. Although her list here is directed toward the worldview of children, I’m sharing it with you because you can easily translate it into the worldview of adults. We must “know our stuff”, or we might well end up serving as someone who helps a seeker believe that atheism is the more intelligent and reasonable worldview. Here are No’s 6-10:
- Avoid teaching or talking about science to your children.
- Tell them science is a tool of the enemy.
- Avoid talking about reasoned philosophical arguments for claims in the Bible.
- Ignore Paul’s admonition to test everything. Teach your children that all philosophy is vain and deceptive.
- Don’t make a regular family activity out of reading and discussing the Bible.
A Nugget of Truth from this week’s time of Learning: John 20 – Doubting Thomas
NOTE: Wed evening classes conclude next week, 4/14.
Thomas gets a bad rap. This is the same man who, earlier in John’s gospel, was willing to die with Jesus. Further, in this familiar passage in John 20, Thomas demonstrates he is a critical thinker. As such, I resonate with Thomas. A lot.
Notice that when Thomas doubts, Jesus doesn’t scold him. Rather, he tenderly met Thomas at his point of weakness. Oh, how Jesus loves you and me – even when our faith is fragile.
So, is it ok to doubt our faith? I’m glad you asked. For the answer, see this week’s Soul Food blog below.
You can watch this week’s lesson in its entirety below. **It includes a defense of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
QUOTE of the WEEK
“All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE
Saw this just before Easter. I couldn’t stop laughing…
For those who can’t make out what it says:
- 1958: Easter Bunny portraits become popular in the U.S.
- 1959: Child psychologists’ offices are invented.
SOUL FOOD: For those who’ve ever doubted your Christian faith.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick