I’ve been a Christian for some 15 years now, and have had the privilege of working with all different kinds of faith communities. I’ve witnessed a lot of differing approaches to ministry some of which are wildly successful and others that are wholly underwhelming. What is interesting is that in all of these relationships I have witnessed a very consistent undercurrent within the universal body in America.
Human beings by nature are divisive. We like to categorize, control, and push away those who do not act or look like we do. The Church is meant to reflect a level of unity that puts the world on notice, and certify that the return of the everlasting King of the universe is immanent. We are intended to be a visible, physical representation of the kingdom of heaven. So the question then becomes, why are we so divided? Within American Christianity there are over 1,500 different denominations and world-wide there are as many as 41,000. That’s right; this is how many denominations there are in Christianity alone, not religions in the world.
Sunday morning has been called by many, “The most segregated hour in America.” There was a time I would have vehemently denied such a remark…that time no longer exists. If you remember last week, I wrote about how in Michigan 8.2 miles separates a poverty stricken area from one of the most affluent communities in the country. I also made the observation that when you go to churches in those areas that you are likely to see a community that reflects the area in which is presides. This observation is confirmed by a study carried out by Lifeway Research and published January of this year.
Satan is winning . . . and we are letting him. It’s a sad reality that I for one am ashamed to admit, but it is a true statement nonetheless. If there is anything Satan is good at, it is accentuating our current flaws and taking advantage of them while they are at their most potent. Human beings are naturally sectarian . . . we are naturally afraid of things that aren’t familiar to us, that don’t make sense to us.
Since my call to Christ some 15 years ago, I have heard many different ideas and concepts about death. Many of these ideas are ones that ascribed to for most of my life. Death is an uneasy topic…a topic that will quite literally send some out of a room faster than any other topic of conversation. It is…morbid…a thing that no person truly likes to talk about because…well it is inevitable.