Archive for January, 2010

A few years ago while in a class discussion, I remarked that the poem we were studying contained a reference to Noah’s Ark. Another student in the class turned to me and asked, quite seriously, “What’s Noah’s Ark?”

In Canada and the United States, we tend to delude ourselves into thinking we live in “Christian” nations. And at one time, that might have been somewhat true. But that time has long passed us by. If my above experience is any indication, we can no longer count on people knowing the most basic of biblical stories. And perhaps an even greater problem is posed by those who think they know the biblical stories, when all they’ve heard is related to anti-religious smears in popular culture. We are no longer a Christian society. We have moved into a post-Christian society.

Dr. Robert D. Newton has an excellent article in The Lutheran Witness addressing how evangelism today requires us to first recognize the reality of our post-Christian society. We cannot afford to continue “doing church” the way we always have, assuming that our neighbours recognize the Church as an authoritative voice in our world. The fact is, they don’t. The sooner we realize that the sooner we can begin preaching the Gospel clearly as we ought. Check out “Missionary Churches: Navigating in a Post-Church World,” an article that is truly necessary for these times.

So how do we put this message into practice? Any specific ideas on how we can be a missional church in today’s post-Christian society, while nonetheless retaining our doctrinal integrity?

As conditions in Haiti worsen (recent reports suggest 200,000 280,000 dead, 250,000 injured, 300,000 1 million homeless, and the beginning of rioting and other civil unrest), Christians the world over should be asking themselves what they can do to alleviate the suffering of the victims of this tragedy. After all, our faith is not merely an abstract set of beliefs; it is the very real indwelling of the Holy Spirit who moves us to respond to the world around us. And while that includes offering prayers for the Haitian people, it should also include more physical sacrifices on our parts. I’m talking, of course, about making cash donations. As James wrote:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about this physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:14-17).

Let us all give as we are able, understanding that we in the West are abundantly blessed. Even before the earthquake, the average Haitian lived on less than two dollars a day. Remember that when considering whether you’re financially capable of making a difference.