I was telling some kids in my office the other night I could get them a computer program that would read the Scripture to them.
"We don't have a computer," they answered.
"Well, I can get you a Bible that is easy to read," I told them.
"We both have Bibles. We just don't get what it's all about," they told me.
"What can I do for you?" I wanted to know.
"Can you help us with our check book? Neither of us has ever balanced a checkbook."
The next thirty minutes was spent on how to balance a checkbook.
In the midst of the most unparented generation in our national history, simple, personal life skills may be the thing kids need most.
I remember Bill Moore, once football coach at Midlothian, who told me once, "I take our kids, the whole team, out to eat at a restaurant each year. Most of them have not often eaten off plates. They eat take out food or stuff from cans, or microwaved food. They don't know how to eat off a plate."
About fifty per cent of first time marriages break up in our country. This statistic has not changed much, up or down, since the 1950's. There are just more people here than ever and fifty per cent of a billion is more than fifty per cent of a million, in raw numbers, if not in per centage points. There are more folks who live together outside traditional marriage now. Parents come and go. Dad is absent. Mom is at work. Dad may just be Mom's latest boyfriend.
Simply put, stop thinking of evangelism without discipleship and stop thinking of discipleship as totally religious.
"Rick doesn't judge," one of my Starbucks Church said to a co-worker one day. "He just loves." They had been discussing the co-workers wild partying the night before. She had said she was embarrassed to have talked about it in front of me.
Now, Rick does judge. Rick does not always just love. Rick just tried not to let his judgemental nature about how people ought to behave determine his actions/attitudes toward people outside the covenant community.
I would like to think we can just gather up a mass force and sweep over Texas with the Word of God one more time before we submerge beneath the rising tide of secularism. I know, Force=Mass x Acceleration, or so I am told. I would love it if there were a Big Daddy in Dallas or Nashville who could shape our convention of churches into some discernible shape and bring enough pressure on that shape to bring us to critical mass. I just don't see it.
In truth, a central denominational authority rich and powerful enough to offer you all you want is more than able to take it all away. The antics of the last few years at convention meetings do not inspire hope in thinking minds. We elected a WMU leader as president last year without knowledge of the insipid actions about to be perpetrated by the WMU executive board, actions which led to anoutrageous firing, a teary board meeting replete with apologies for untoward actions and the unprecedented act of calling an intentional interim from out of state.
The prior president is now on the convention payroll in a position we had been led to believe would not be filled at all.
The president prior to him cut a brother off the microphone at the convention, admonished him sharply and then read the convention out of existence as an acting body with an ill-considered ruling. The result was sharp criticism from all corners, a special called executive board meeting and their action to write out what we all knew; the convention is not run by its staff or its executive board. Tears were shed. Hugs were exchanged.
Tell me, just why is it we need all of this? No, don't tell me.
Let me tell you what my convention, such as it is, can do for me. The convention can pass on the funds I send it from my church to the ministries and schools who should be getting the money.
Then, you can stop embarrassing me in your mad rush to cater to whatever para-church body you think will save you from the other party. They are defending you to death.
Then, you can get out of my way. You can do this best by no longer telling me how relevant and together you are for us yokels. In truth, you have been a major source of disunity and discord and distrust. Tell us where the $27,000,000 spent outside the budget over the past eight years went. Unlock the $300,000 report on the Valleygate Scandal from its aerie in the Baptist Standard building. You got yourself sued and charged others with criminal activities, some of them your own employees.
Tell us honestly how all of that happened. Don't expect forgiveness right away. We will be appalled by the truth. We will eventually forgive and something will survive.
There is not much hope without repentance.
Something good is dying.