Friday, March 04, 2005
I have a theory. Originally, pastors (priests, ministers, whatever you choose to call them) wanted those in their care to evangelize, pray often, read Scripture regularly, serve others, and go to a church meeting place to worship God and fellowship with other believers. However, some people weren't willing to do all of these things, and in some cases may have balked at all or nearly all of them. So, in desperation, over time, pastors took the "lowest common denominator" approach and simply stressed, possibly along the lines of "if you won't do ______, at least do _____," the simplest thing. The simplest thing was going to church, because you didn't really have to participate if you didn't want to, and a lot of the time it was fun anyway (and besides, there were often young, attractive members of the opposite sex there anyway). Eventually, the Christian culture came to think that all that was really required of Christians was going to a meeting place to worship, perhaps with some mild prayer and a little giving to the collection plate. And that's where we are now. The problem is that when we do that, we aren't growing. And as any study of biology knows, if something's not growing, then it's dying (or is dead, or was never alive in the first place). That's why Western Christianity is in such a sorry state, and why we're not respected by those who don't believe. Why do you think?