A question that came to my mind the other day is: are Christians a dying breed? I was singing in church a couple weekends ago, and I looked out at the congregation to see that the church was practically empty. I’ll admit that this wasn’t a usual weekend. My church is usually a little more full. Even so, the weekly regulars at my church are all retirement age or older. My brother and I are some of the only really regular young people. What’s more is that everyone else in the choir is in their 60’s and 70’s. What am I going to do in a few years when they all start dropping like flies? Who is going to take over when our music director retires? Will there be any young people ready and willing to take over?
I don’t live in a particularly religious town. A lot of people around here are what I call “Christian by association.” You could look around here and think of Neitzsche. I know not every American town is like my own, and I know there are places where faith is a huge part of the community. What I would like to know is whether these places might go in the same direction as my town. I have heard that atheism, agnosticism and secularism have steadily been growing in prominence all around the country. I just can’t quite wrap my head around why that is. Is it because of technology? Is it because of science? Is it because of the accessibility of material things? I would probably say yes, yes and yes, but I don’t quite understand why these things lead to such a loss of faith.
Is the problem that faith has become old fashioned? I don’t mean literally of course, but is it perceived as being an out dated practice/system/what have you? Is it naive to believe that there is some kind of all powerful entity who sustains life and judges our merits? Why do Heaven and Earth have to remain apart? Why is it so hard for some people to believe that God has a hand in a doctor’s passion and ability to save lives or a judge’s ability to morally decide a person’s fate?
Perhaps some people think that faith restricts freedoms. While it is true that it sets moral standards, many of these standards are set by human laws and societal expectations. In many cases, the Father has the same expectations as human parents. Among other things, He wants what is best for His children. The expectation that we will worship Him is similar to the parental expectation of respect.
Of course people are busy, and making it to church every Sunday isn’t always possible. One does not always need to be in a church to worship the Lord. He said Himself, “where two or more are gathered in my name, I will be there.” Furthermore, it can be difficult for people to get into the habit of praying. I think the problem here is that some people think that in order to pray, you have to stop, drop what you’re doing and take ten minutes to recite a long, well thought out prayer. Sometimes a prayer can be as simple as “God, please help me,” or just a heartfelt “thank you.” The trick is to mean it. The fact of the matter is that God knows what is on your heart, and your prayer doesn’t even have to be coherent. It’s the intention that matters.
Of course It’s good to read the Bible whenever you can, but you don’t necessarily need to set aside a huge chunk of time for that either. My Shakespeare professor made an interesting comment the other day that I thought was helpful in this respect. She said with Shakespeare and scripture, It’s best to read until you feel a “hook;” until something sticks with you. If the hook comes right away, great! You can stop there if you want. Sometimes you’re just not going to feel it on a given day. That’s fine too. God can give you the hook in other ways.
I’m not saying that one should compartmentalize their faith, rather, I am suggesting that one should make it an integral part of their life. This is when performing acts of faith such as prayer, etc feels natural, desirable and necessary.
So I suppose my point and my hope is that people would be ready and willing to let faith be a part of modern day life. I hope that this apparent disconnect that people feel with God will be resolved, and I hope a renewal of faith can bring a renewed sense of groundedness; something that I think many people nowadays could really use.
I know one blog post by one girl isn’t going to change too much too fast, so if you read this and think It’s worth sharing, do me a favor and pass it on.