We got some more rain here in California this week, and there's more forecast for next week. Our rain here is a cold rain, never hard, and usually no more than a sprinkle or mist. So different from tropical rain that is usually warm and pummels you like grapeshot (Hey, that's a great line for a book! ) Anyway, I thank God for it, though I'm not much for icy weather.
Writing newsI'm working on the last chapter of Charity's Cross! I will turn it into my editor next week and hopefully get it all polished up by the end of January. Yes, it takes awhile. When I was published with Barbour, it took months to edit and fix and then edit and fix over and over again. Soon, I"ll be sending out requests for influencers who agree to read an early copy and review it. If you're interested, comment below. I'll probably limit it to around 50.
SaleJust a reminder that my box set of Charles Towne Belles (Three full length novels) is on sale for only 99 cents!
Also only 99 cents is The Ransom and Falcon and the Sparrow! For the entire month of December!
Is the Seeker-Friendly church a good or bad thing?
Recently my husband read an article in the Economist ( I know.. boring!) about the differences in religion in the NorthEast vs. the Deep South in the U.S. As most Americans know, the NorthEast is fairly liberal and non-religious for the most part. I'm not saying everyone is, but in general it is a very agnostic culture. The south on the other hand (also called the Bible belt) is more conservative and also more religious. More people attend church, more people claim to be Christians and believe in God in the South. But why?
What was interesting is that the writer of the article did a ton of research and came up with the following theory. Remember the Puritans landed in the North. Also the north started out being very religious because of these puritans. Church attendance was mandatory, their code of ethics much stricter. They didn't even celebrate Christmas because of its pagan influence. So what happened? Here's this man's theory.
The north had a much higher influx of immigrants because there were more jobs and opportunities whereas the south consisted of mostly farms and plantations, so unless you were a farmer who could purchase land, there weren't many opportunities to make a living. HENCE, the church in the north, wanting to convert all these immigrants to Christianity began to soften their approach. They watered down the Gospel message, took off moral restrictions, in an effort to bring in more people.
In the South, because there were few immigrants, the church concentrated on disciplining the people who were already Christian. In other words, all their programs and efforts went toward making mature disciples, people who had strong faith, understood the Scriptures, and had a close walk with God.
Now 200 years later we see the results of this: The subsequent generations of northerners drifted farther and farther from God while the ancestors of those in the South retained their strong faith. Now, I realize I'm talking in huge generalities here, but this sort made sense to me. We have many seeker-friendly churches in America whose main goal is to get "converts" and fill pews. They do this by things like:
- Free donuts every Sunday
- Never talk about difficult topics from the pulpit like judgement, hell, demons, or satan
- Create seeker attractive programs like basketball, knitting, or cooking clubs
- Put on a very entertaining service, complete with a live band, singers, and even videos
Does this work? Absolutely. People come in. They love the social activities, free food, entertainment and comforting sermon. They may even say a prayer to receive Jesus. Hey, it might even be genuine and they get truly saved. Praise God for that! But I wonder how many of these people eventually drift away, and especially how many of their kids and grandkids walk away themselves? Now, some churches do offer more in-depth Bible classes, but I've also noticed not many people attend these.
People are looking for something real. Wouldn't it be better to raise up strong disciples and let them loose on their neighbors, coworkers, and friends... living like little Jesus's among the lost?
What are your thoughts?