I just ran across an article in the Oregonian newspaper that discusses the “unchurched” state we live in here in Oregon. The article can be found here: Oregon Not Quite Most Unchurched State.
In the article a recent Gallup poll is quoted from which shows Oregon as only 2% higher “churched” than the last place states. See Gallup Poll here.
Now right from the start I want to make it very clear, I do not think that going to church makes you a “better Christian” or even “more religious”. It doesn’t make one a “Christian” period. What struck me most painfully in the article was, as usual, the comments after the article. Here are some of the “highlights”:
A lot of people came to Oregon to escape the insane adherence to a fantasy that is no more a huge charade imposed by a ruling class to keep the slaves in line. “we can’t pay you anything, we may work you to death, but you’ll get your reward in heaven.”
Come on Oregonians. We used to win this thing. Quit going to church to help the state. I know it’s hard now that football is over for the season. But suck it up, worship at the church of the NBA, or hell, you could always watch golf, think of it as purgatory. The new Catholic guy came here because he thought we were ‘unchurched’. Let’s show him what that really means. Support your Oregon heritage.
Doggone, Oregonians are smarter than I thought…
Come to Oregon, you persecuted unbelievers living in Red States! You won’t have to hide your non-belief here, and you won’t have to suck up to believers in order to advance in your job (or even keep it). You won’t have to tolerate prayers before school board or city hall meetings, or pretend that God created the universe 6,000 years ago. In short, you’re free to think for yourself!!
Makes me proud to be an Oregonian. If we try harder, maybe we can be Number 1.
Many Oregonians moved here to try an escape from the hypocrisy we see from many ‘Churches’. The communal feeling in many areas shows a level of spirituality that you won’t find just anywhere, it’s very refreshing. So even though they don’t contribute to the ‘establishment’s’ and the systemic feed to the Masonry, until more Churches start showing some consistency and the Word and how it relates to Earth and Science the trend will continue. Look what our younger generations have witnessed: those in positions of power within many Religions that have used that power as a weapon of abuse and entitlement.
Folks, read “God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens. He brilliantly exposed how contrived and man-made Christianity is. It’s a fantastic read.
What makes me really sad about these comments is how serious the subject is, yet how comical it seems to be to many. I’m not talking about “church” I’m talking about the greatest gift ever given to anyone: The FREE gift of Salvation from a God who loves His creation SO much that He sent His son to die for that creation. Man. How does going to church play into this? It’s hard to explain in writing but I’ll try.
When you REALLY love someone, don’t you want to spend every waking moment with them? Remember when you first fell in love with that person? You couldn’t get enough of them. That’s how my relationship with God is. I can’t wait to be with Him. I want to talk to Him, listen to Him (through His Word, his still small voice and His church), I want to be with the people who love Him too! The only place where I get all of that and more is……Church!
Now I can’t speak for ALL churches as I can only go to one at a time, but, I LOVE church. I can’t wait to get through the week to get to Sunday. I get up early on Sunday just to get myself ready to get to church. I can’t wait to see my wonderful friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. I can’t wait to sing songs of praise, to pray, to hear His Word brought to me by my pastor. When someone once asked me on a beautiful summer day, “why would you waste a day like this one on an hour or two in a church?” Like I just said, it’s hard to convey that without having the experience.
I know MANY people have been burned by churches. Just like any other place in the world, there are bad people. Bad people, those who aren’t really at church for the reasons I’ve listed, but come out of some sense of “duty” or because “my wife made me go”. There’s even those who come to actually BE negative and find something wrong. Those folks can spoil a church experience. Don’t let them!
God can be experienced ANYWHERE don’t get me wrong. He is in everything as He created everything, but, he also, in His great wisdom, created the Church for a reason: He loves to hear the worship of His people. He loves to be in the midst of the church by His Holy Spirit. He loves to do miracles in His church, he loves to meet needs in His church and so much more. I haven’t enough words to type to tell you if you’ve never experienced it like I have.
If your church doesn’t sound like what I’ve described? Try two things: 1 – Check your heart and your motives for going to church, make sure they are pure and that you are looking for God.
2 – Find another church. Ask a friend who seems to be satisfied with their church experience. If you live near Salem, Oregon, ask me, I’ll tell you of a great one!
I also call on any pastor who reads this blog article: Preach the Gospel! Church is NOT a country club. It is not your kingdom. It is not a “feel good” only house but it is rather a hospital for God’s people from all walks of life who are hurt and bleeding. Stop preaching social gospel and preach what you were called to preach: Matthew 28:18-20. THAT is the only sermon you need to give EVER! Just spend the time you need in God’s Word asking Him how to give you that sermon in a different light each week. He will never fail you. The lost are out there, the “fields are ripe for the harvest” is your church “harvesting”? If your church attendance is down, then the article that started this is very very appropriate for you Pastors. It’s not that you need to change the way you “do church” it’s that there is a state full of hurting people who need to know how much God loves them. What are you doing to reach them? Want to grow your church, see the pews/chairs filled? Go out and call them in because there IS a Heaven to be gained and a Hell to be shunned and MOST of the good people of Oregon are in deep trouble and you know, God does not want that “one should perish”! See also Luke 14:16-24. They are out there, just bring them in!
PS: after further reflection, a similar topic: Missions.
WHY oh why do the churches spend gazillions of money on overseas missions? I know we are to reach the lost everywhere, but, as you can clearly see, the Mission field is RIGHT HERE in Oregon. Why don’t we in the churches of Oregon spend the dollars and the man hours on what could be the biggest mission field in the world? Just a thought.