Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth," But Can They Worship God in a Christian Church?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says in The Gospel of Luke in the 14th chapter, that the 'the meek shall inherit the earth.' And, he said, "whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." That doesn't mean that Casper Milk Toast will be running the world, and it doesn't mean that people who look down on themselves or have inferiority complexes will win the prize. What is intended is that the person who doesn't think about himself or herself too often will in turn succeed. People whose egos allow them to put themselves first in front of everyone else will in the long run be worse off than the person who humbles themselves before God and other people. God wants us to be servants of Him and each other. "Barbarians at the Gate" was a book and a movie about the tobacco business and it was a very selfish and self serving story about people in the higher echelon of that industry. They were 'elitists' who were stepping on whoever got in their way. "whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." My family, three generations of them, attend a Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. In the past 25 years, four pastors have been forced to leave their positions in the church. There is an elitist group who band together and decide that they "don't like" the pastor for one reason or another. The fourth pastor submitted his resignation today. He has been under much pressure and controversy for the entire five years he has been on campus. He came from a church that loved him and he was very happy as was his family. He was cajoled and sought after by the Search committee as a replacement for the pastor who was previously asked to leave. On the third approach by a member of the committee, he felt that was what God was calling him to do. He was aware of the previous problems and the sorry track record of the church, but he felt maybe God was calling him to come to this church and to put it back on a course of Christian worship of God and not members of the staff. He left his happy growing church and came into a church full of problems. Some of the problems were staff related and some were member related. The previous pastor had been offered a severance package to leave the church as he put it, 'like firing the wait staff of the country club.' Over 800 members had left that church and gone somewhere else because of things they felt were not to their liking. For example, the pastor and a group of postmodern young people had started a contemporary service led by guitars and drums and the traditional members did not like that at all. The contemporary service was gaining some ground and picking up some new members who for one reason or another did not like to be "churched" and wanted the newer version which was being introduced into the United States by way of the U.K. and Spain. When that pastor was presented his "either or" package and a rail, he left and so did the contemporary worship service. We were back to 1984 'the way we had always done things.' The argument between the traditional and the contemporary, "us and them," caused a great schism in the church, but not a 'split' so that we went separate ways. We tried to work it out and many meetings were held in advance of a new pastor being issued an invitation to lead the flock of this befuddled and cantankerous group of Christians. Some of the attendees thought that we should wait until the next pastor was in place to settle the eruptions caused by the "contemptible" service as it came to be known. Others thought we should wait and let the new pastor deal with the problem. Bad decision! We couldn't even clean up our own mess. We shoved it off on someone else to do. We also today received word that another associate pastor is resigning because of the fear the same group may turn against him and chase him away when he is too old to have many choices. Over the past five months, we have lost an organist of 30 years, a very much loved minister of seniors, an associate pastor who was actively bringing the 'emergent' church into the mix and now two more ministers. The only one remaining at this time is the youth minister who has accomplished much and has managed to stay below the radar. In my opinion, the youth minister has stayed below the radar because he works with small children of younger members and the older traditionalists are not even aware of the church having any children. Many things have led to the drastic changing of a once vibrant church with about 2,000 active members. The current withered economy kept us from being able to offer raises to the church staff; that led to the resignation of the organist and the senior minister. The changing culture of the younger generations has had a great deal to do with all churches diminishing in size and impact on the community. Churches may be becoming too dogmatic by forcing people, both members and clergy, to sign documents that did not fit their beliefs. Too many of the 'old guard' is set against 'change' and yet we have a President who was elected by people wanting 'change' and 'hope.' Go figure! Christians are being set aside in favor of Islam. The President wouldn't honor the day of prayer, but allowed thousands of Muslims to gather on the Plaza lawn outside the Capital building and celebrate their Islam religion. Churches are being threatened by secular competition. Too many other things to do on a Sunday morning than to sit and listen to some boring preacher tell us how bad we are. The meek may inherit the earth, but it is going to be a vastly different place than it is now. They may demand a recount. Cause Joy! Article Source:

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