Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sunday School

The Sunday School has been part of the Christian culture since it's inception in the 1780's. The online version of Christian history has an interesting article about the history of the Sunday School. Originally, it began as a literacy and religious education movement. The article points out that there were good reasons for this institution and why it became so popular with parents and children.

I wonder if in the 21st century, we are witnessing the death of the Sunday School. In many churches, the attendance is not what it was in the 60's and 70's. For some, what once was a tool to advance literacy and Christian education (and even doctrinal knowledge via chatechistical instruction), now is a forum to teach Bible stories with a moralistic interpretation, or as a tool for evangelism. Sadly, some continue to prop up a Sunday School program for no other reason than it is something that has always been done.

If Sunday School is to continue and to be a viable program (and one could argue that maybe it has outlived its usefulness - but that's a discussion for another day), the we need to ask ourselves some pertinent questions:
  • Why do we have Sunday School?
  • What do we want to accomplish in Sunday School?
  • What is expected from those who teach in the Sunday School?
  • If there are good and sound reasons to have a Sunday School program, then where is it among the priorities of the church and what resources will be committed to it?

Read the article linked above and share your thoughts.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So Easy a Child Can Do It

I saw this on Mark Dever's Church Matters blog. Apparently, Pentecostal preaching is so easy a child can do it!
Seriously, the caption says "This is awesome. We had a powerful move of God in the worship service... While it was somewhat entertaining, it was also moving." No wonder Christians are a joke to many people.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Great Picture

Sorry to be so political, but you really must see this picture. My thanks to Doug Wilson's Blog and Mablog.

Monday, August 25, 2008

She Said What?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments on yesterday's Meet the Press have been all over the talk radio airwaves today. I heard some clips, and I read the transcripts of the interview. Either the Speaker is a typical politician or a bad Catholic. She claims to be an "ardent practicing Catholic" and she actually believes that the Roman Catholic Church is conflicted over the issue of when life begins! Now, I am not a Catholic, but even I know that Roman Catholics have asserted for centuries that life begins at conception and that abortion is considered a sin. How an "ardent practicing Catholic" cannot know this is incredible.

I realize that many in the RCC, especially in the USA, do not agree with the Church's teaching about contraception and abortion; and perhaps Speaker Pelosi is among them. But to assert that the Church is unclear about the issue is just plain nonsense. Her revisionist version of church history makes me wonder: am I a better Catholic than Nancy Pelosi?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Teach Your Children Well - Part 3

I have been on vacation this week and have tried to stay away from the computer. However, I ran across this about praying with your children and thought it worthy of sharing. Have a great weekend.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Teach Your Children Well, Part 2

If I would have taken the time to blog surf more, I probably would not have started this one. Justin Taylor has an excellent blog. He contributes to several - how does he have time to do anything else? Anyway, since one of my responsibilities at my church is to be involved in the educational ministry, this article was particularly helpful and relevant. Justin Taylor linked it from his blog and I provide the link here. Anyone involved in ministry to young people should read this.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Going to Church

I am reading The Cube and the Cathedral by George Weigel. This is a look at the differences in worldview between America and much of Europe. Last evening, I read this passage:

Whatever you can say about the United States, it is most certainly not a Christaphobic or post-Christian society. European high culture is largely Christaphobic and Europeans themselves describe their culture and societies as post-Christian. It would be too simple to say that the reason Americans and Europeans see the world so differently is that the former go to church on Sundays and the latter don't. But it would also be a grave mistake to think that the dramatic differences in religious belief and practice in the United States and Europe don't have something to do with those different perceptions of the world - and the different policies to which those perceptions generally lead.

We might argue Weigel's assessment that America is not Christaphobic or post-Christian, but I was impressed by his assessment of the way religious belief influences worldview. Now, this is not news to most of us, but it bears examination.

Perhaps it is too simplistic to find too much significance in the rate of church attendance between Europe and the United States, but there does seem to be validity to this idea. It has long been observed that much of Europe has abandoned religious service. Cathedrals in France are not much more than tourist attractions. Church buildings in Great Britain have been converted to car washes and convenience stores. And, it is also true that church attendance is not what it used to be in America. In this country, fewer and fewer people attend church - even those who profess to be evangelical Christians.

But, the fact that, more or less, Americans do go to church on Sunday reflects upon their basic outlook. Regardless whether the church one attends is considered liberal of fundamentalist, or all shades in between, people who attend church state by their attendance that there is a God to whom they are in some way accountable. An elementary awareness of the existence of God informs one's worldview.
America is fast becoming a secular society. Much of European culture is markedly secular. It is significant that one of the candidates for president of the United States looks to Europe as a model. However, insofar as we are a church going nation, our culture has reaped the benefits.
For the Christian, the task has not changed. The Great Commission transcends cultures, politics, and nations. In America, we are still free to proclaim the gospel. We should not take for granted this liberty.