Sunday, April 26, 2009

Years Go By

The long gap between blogging has been largely due to my beng in a place in life where I know I need to listen more and talk less. I think it's far healthier than yapping about increasingly irrelevant stuff and pretending I'm more important than I am. There's plenty of bloggers like that. Feel free to visit them if that's your cup o' tea.

A couple months ago I discovered Facebook, which has (1) sucked away many hours of my life by assessing things like "The Top 5 Cartoons You Grew Up On" and (2) enabled me to touch base with many friends from high school and college that I'd not heard from in as much as 15-20 years. The latter of the two has been surprisingly rewarding and a lot of fun. It's helped me in refocusing on the importance of friendships.

I am stunned and saddened, however, at the number of friends I've reunited with that once had the Christian walk as the center of their lives, but now have allowed it to dwindle.

The times we spent attending Christian concerts is now referred to as "lame" and the zeal of their youth "naive." They place blame on the busy pace of life, or disenchantment with friends and family, as reasons they don't go to church. Sometims they say that they haven't found a church that "feels right" - and yet haven't tried to attend a church service in years. Sometimes they say the church, or organized religion, is "corrupt."

The bottom line is that church life, the Christian walk, no longer fit in as a convenient part of their life, and they cut it out.

I guess the part that has me confused is how you can love Jesus, and understand the sacrifice He made, and then not give it the all-consuming attention that that belief demands in your life.

Being a Christian is not convenient. It is not easy. To the world it appears foolish, and makes us out to look life freaks. It does not protect us from cancer or heartbreak, it does not promise happiness and success. Following Jesus requires bold, unwavering faith. It requires us to take risks, and sacrifice personal, material and physical comforts. It requires us to love those who are difficult to love, and to spend time with imperfect people just like us.

That's not a sales pitch by any stretch. In fact, it would appear as something that should be avoided at all costs. I think that's just what my friends have bumped into over the years. When things got tougher, it was easier to take the broad road. When people didn't act right it was easier to blame them than to make personal adjustments to accomodate. When life got busy it was easier to bump church down on the priority list. When choices had to be made, rather than take a stand it was easier to listen to the secular catch phrases, like
"I don't believe in organized religion"
"shove it down our throats"
"seperation of church and state"
"I'm a spritiual person"
"there are many paths to truth"
"I can be a Christian without going to church"

All lies, slapped on a dusty bible like a bumper sticker, that might look noble and wise, but in fact is a justification for laziness and lack of commitment. It's akin to a New Year's resolution to work out at a gym. It's easy to know what's right. It's easy to make that decision. It's hard to get up a month later at 5AM to hit the gym for an hour when it's snowy and cold out.

My prayer today is that my broken heart for these people will be healed, that they might rediscover the joy of their salvation and return to the cross. If you fall into the above camp I welcome the discussion.

I'm off to mow the lawn. Have a great day.