Post Christian

Why are so many gifted people leaving vocational ministry?

Why are so many gifted people leaving vocational ministry?

Over the past few months, I have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of friends and colleagues who are hanging up their ministry cleats and heading off into other professions and industries.  I am not going to lie, it has been pretty depressing to watch so many gifted leaders come to the awful conclusion that the cost/benefit analysis of vocational ministry is coming up wanting.  

Why is this happening?  What is going on in the church and in the culture that is making vocational ministry completely unappealing?  I am sure there are a number of reasons for this.  But there is one reason that I have been mulling over and wondered if you agree.

I think that a number of Gen X and Millennial leaders are fleeing vocational ministry because the basic deal between pastor and congregation has become untenable for the pastor. 

The simple way I see the past is this:  Ministry has always been difficult.  It is a high calling, a calling from God, a call to selfless service to the church and to work of expanding the Kingdom of God.  It was ok to have low salaries, crazy work hours, committee meetings, and always being on call.  It was even ok that it was mostly a thankless job and often pastors had little fruit to show for their years of faithful service.  Planning and watering was the faithful call, and trusting that God would use their efforts to cause faith to grow was their hope!  It was hard and thankless work, but a noble calling!

Why do most Evangelicals support the 2nd Amendment?

Why do most Evangelicals support the 2nd Amendment?

The internet is blowing up Christians and their love for guns and the 2nd Amendment.  How in the world did American Evangelicalism get to be so associated with Gun rights?  I think the answer has less to do with actual guns and the enormous cultural divide that we find ourselves in.    

We are in the middle of a civil war that is happening between cultures and worldviews.  Thankfully we haven't taken up weapons against each other, but the lines are being drawn.  One of the ways we can determine who is on our team is by virtue signaling.  (This is the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue.)

You see people virtue signaling all the time, and on both sides of the cultural debate.  Think about why you post what you post on Facebook when it comes to politics.  You have very little political clout and you are not trying to change hearts and minds, rather, if you are like most people, you are trying to prove to your side that you are a loyal member to your tribe.  This happens all the time around issues like Climate Change, Black Lives Matter, Trump, Abortion, Income Inequality.  

This gets us to the latest debate about Guns and all of the weeping and gnashing teen surrounding this issue.  

How can you tell the difference between right and wrong in an amoral culture?

How can you tell the difference between right and wrong in an amoral culture?

This last year marijuana became legal for recreational purposes in our state.  And because our churches have done such a poor job in our discipleship we have no good answer as to the place that weed should have in the life of a follower of Christ.  

For too long we have lazily relied on a shallow understanding of spirital formation and extolled behavior management.  Because we used to live in a culture that had deep roots in a Judeo-Christian worldview, we could simply say, "A good Christian obeys the law of the land." But now that the laws are changing we are forced to take another look at our morality in light of our spiritual formation, not in light of the laws of the land or what is culturally acceptable.  

With that being said, I had an interesting study in Romans 14 the other day with some friends and wanted to share a helpful paradigm in discerning right from wrong in an amoral culture.

Grab your bibles and turn to ROMANS 14:13-18 

Here are a couple of thoughts on what we love in this passage:

I wonder when the Church is going to wrestle with the 1st of the 10 commandments?

I wonder when the Church is going to wrestle with the 1st of the 10 commandments?

You shall not have any gods above me.  

This seems pretty straightforward.  But I am afraid that we in the church have been co-opted by our culture and embraced strange and foreign religions that are no longer orthodox Christianity but have been changed into something totally different by syncretism.  

Syncretism: exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions.

What is challenging is that in our context, syncretism is not as blatant as simply combining other religious belief systems.  That would be easy to see.  We don't believe in some strange Christian / Buddhist blend religion or a Christian / Islam religion.  Rather we have strange philosophical and political systems that we treat like religions and have formed a deformed version of Christianity.