Several years ago Tom Bisset carried out a study of people who had left the faith. Wanting this to be more than a statistical analysis, he actually sat down with people to interview them and ask for detailed information on when, why, and how they abandoned their faith. As he compiled his research he arrived at the four most prominent reasons that people raised in Christian homes eventually leave Christianity behind.
A new study by David Haskell of Wilfred Laurier University suggests it’s conservative theology.
This is a thoughtful take on thinking through politics, preaching and our faith.
No amount of my effort, busyness, creativity, or productivity can save even one soul. I cannot be anybody’s savior. But by resting in the finished work of the cross, relying on the power of the Spirit, and being willing to simply be a messenger, we can participate in the divine calling of watching Jesus transform lives for eternity. We, as the body of Christ, have a holy privilege to be his hands and feet.
In my white protestant context, we tend to think of sermons as a solitary performance. But sermons are more like a ballroom dance. In one sense, we both need to put the work into knowing our part. In another, we need to plug those memorized parts into the current our partner is sending – every moment aware of their pace, thought, pleasure, displeasure, knowledge of the dance, etc.
Not everyone who fills out applications at the Workforce Commission has a criminal record. Education or experience gaps can induce joblessness. Sometimes those gaps exist because of lifelong circumstances, sometimes because of personal choices. Criminal histories, education gaps, and lack of reliable transportation (all of which Cassie faces) make finding sustainable employment fiercely difficult.
Many religions, like Islam for example, seem to thrive on conquest and power. Christianity grows best under hardship. Christianity is in decline in America, and Christendom is already in ruins in Europe, but in the East and in Africa, where it is new, a grassroots movement, and/or under persecution, it is spreading like wildfire. I sometimes wonder if God has set the growth of Christianity to work this way to keep in the forefront of our minds the treasure and glory of heaven over and above the treasure and glory of earth.
A favorite from the archives:
This, I think, is why Jesus kept responding to questions with questions. I think it’s why we keep getting posed the same questions over and over again in the Scriptures. It’s not because Jesus was being evasive any more than I believe the authors of Scripture—and ultimately the Holy Spirit—were being obtuse.
It’s that we need to really feel the weight of the problem before we can see the answer.