Monday, October 14, 2013

Pastorgraphs: “Losing Young Christians”



E-Vangel Newsletter
October 14, 2013

Pastorgraphs: “Losing Young Christians”

If you think I am about to go political, you will miss my point. So please hear me out.

Matt Lewis, the 2012 American Conservative Union CPAC "Blogger of the Year", wrote an article last week that I could not agree with more! My conservative friends may be surprised, and my liberal friends (yes, I am pleased to have BOTH kinds) may be tempted to stop reading. But give me a chance and I think we will all be edified.

Lewis’ article, “The GOP is losing young Christians” appeared in “The Week” magazine. He also appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” where Joe Scarborough, former GOP Representative from Pensacola, Fla. confirmed Lewis’ view. (Here is a link to that brief but informative conversation: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3036789/#53215576 )

In short, what Lewis said is that young evangelical Christians, who were largely responsible for the boots-on-the-ground that led to the GOP’s gains in 2010 have fallen by the wayside. The reason: “…many young Christians are choosing to be conscientious objectors in the culture wars. Some of this may be due to changing attitudes concerning some hot-button social issues. But there's also a growing sense among young Christians that political involvement, no matter how pure the original motives, is a corrupting force. Christians who attempt to be in this political world, but not of this political world, are constantly faced with ethical conundrums.”

Or stated another way, these young Christians find it hard to reconcile the venom and hatred of our current politics with the Christian injunctives to “love your neighbors” and “pray for your enemies”.

Lewis added, “For Christians, political involvement has a way of breaking bad. The real danger is that over time, it has a coarsening effect, and that our political ranks and church pews alike will be filled full of [those] who will do anything to achieve their goals. They are wise as serpents, but no longer innocent as doves. For what shall it profit a man if he should win the election, but lose his soul?”

In fairness, it is not just the GOP’s young adults that are disillusioned. I personally know several young adults who worked hard for President Obama in 2008 and saw “Yes we Can” become “No we Can’t”. Disillusioned, but for a different reason.

But the point is not political. It is spiritual. It is at the heart of Jesus’ message. It ultimately comes down to: Where do we stand on “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”? It has everything to do with how we view our fellow human beings, ESPECIALLY the poor, oppressed, and voiceless.

Joe Scarborough pointed out the conflict between “massive [government] cuts to the poor and Matthew 25”. (I was hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, in prison, a stranger.) Scarborough said, “You read Matthew 25 and there is a responsibility if you believe what Jesus said to figure out how to alleviate suffering for the poor and just ‘cutting it off’ without transition doesn’t square up with Matthew 25”.

This speaks to me at the level of my two highest Christian ideals: ministry to the poor and a call for integrity.

In the next few weeks, you will hear more about “Fount of Blessings”; a major project I am working on. It is an online database that displays how churches and charities (Founts) in San Diego are offering “Streams of mercy, never ceasing” (such as food, clothing, prison ministry-reentry, refugee assistance, wellness ministries, shelter, help for battered women and abused children, quenching spiritual thirst, and so on.) I am convinced The Fount will fill a huge need for helping those in need find the resources they need more efficiently and effectively. Stay tuned for more on this.

Also, I am working on a “40 Days to Integrity” series for Lent 2014. Those who join this journey will watch a different four-minute video online each day for 40 days to gain an understanding of what integrity is, and get the tools necessary for achieving integrity in their lives. Anyone, anywhere who has internet access can join us on this journey. It is free. Contact me if you want to reserve a seat or would like to receive a brochure.

The issue Lewis points out is the lack of integrity between what the political parties say and what they do. The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy. 

Young adults are our hope for the future. Thank God they recognize this hypocrisy and the evil that results when any power (political, military, economic or even religious) runs roughshod over the poor.

Lewis is correct: “Big-hearted youngsters looking to "do unto others" won't find their calling in today's rancorous politics.”

God bless our country and our leaders!

Happy 50th Anniversary, Herschel and Sherry Morgan
Whoever said “You cannot make old friends” was spot on. I want to send a shout out to one of my longest friendships. The Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Herschel Morgan will celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary this Saturday (October 19) at Bethabara Baptist Church where they were married October 19, 1963 near Owensboro, KY.

In 1971, Herschel and I were pastors of neighboring churches. We formed a car-pool and commuted from Owensboro to Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY TWICE a week for most of three years. (Our churches required us to return for Wednesday night Prayer Meeting, so we got up at 4:00 AM Tuesdays and Thursday’s to make it to our 8:00 AM Louisville classes – in another time zone. We made the trek back to Daviess County after class on Wednesdays and Fridays.) Wow. I get tired just thinking of it now.

I calculate Herschel and I traveled over 50,000 miles and spent 1,200 hours together on these trips. You really get to know someone when you spend that much time together, especially in the confines of a car. Herschel is one of the most genuine Christians I have ever known. Although the years and miles separate us, Herschel continues to bless my life and make me strive to be a better person.

Happy Golden Anniversary, Herschel and Sherry, my “dear, old” friends.

Devotedly, Bill Jenkins

From the Quote Garden:

“The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you've had.”
~ Author Unknown ~

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

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