Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cultural issues: McChurch: church inside a McDonald's, or is it a McDonald's inside a church?, Evangelicals accepting gays in huge numbers (IF they're their own kids), Pigs (almost) fly

PostChristianity now has its own page at Wikipedia. The definition is a little scholarly convoluted, but here it is:
Postchristianity is the belief that the loss of the Christian monopoly in political affairs, especially in the Global North where Christianity had previously flourished, will eventually lead its demise in favour of secular nationalism. It includes personal world views, ideologies, religious movements or societies that are no longer rooted in the language and assumptions of Christianity, at least explicitly, although they had previously been in an environment of ubiquitous Christianity, i.e. Christendom.
At the Christian Post, guest opinion writer Kevin Shrum wrote a few months ago,
We knew this day would arrive. The 'slippery slope' of morality has now become a proverbial landslide of moral morass. What seemed to be a slow decline has now exponentially accelerated. The parading and applauding of all things unbiblical and immoral has reached its zenith on the shoulders of the autonomous self, where me, myself, and I are the arbiters of all things truthful and spiritual. Gone is any reference to transcendent authority.

But fear not, dear Christian. Like an athlete out of shape in the off-season layoff, it may take awhile for American Christians to awaken from our 'most-favored-religion-status' we have come to assume in this great country of ours, but I believe we're up to the task. We're not the first Christians to live 'behind enemy lines' nor will we be the last.
A few weeks ago, ReligionNews posed the following question: How PostChristian are you?
In a look at “churchless” America, Barna Group found many people who label themselves “Christian” are actually more like their secular neighbors — people who claim no particular religious brand — in their beliefs and practices.
That post-Christian, churchless, the 'Jesus is a nice guy but ultimately doesn't affect my life' attitude is seen in the fact that articles like these below actually exist.

Religious group wants to build McDonald’s in a church
As church attendance falls, one group believes that the lure of a burger and fries might make church more appealing. ... "Christianity is unable to capture modern audiences," Di Lucca told NBC News. "There's a lack of innovation and lack of design thinking in Church communities." ... "It's time for churches to engage with entrepreneurship," writes the group on its IndieGoGo site. "By combining a church and a McDonald's we can create a self-sustaining, community-engaged, popular church, and an unparalleled McDonald's restaurant."
The entrepreneurial spirit that infects churches today is thanks to Rick Warren and his "The Purpose Driven Church is listed in “100 Christian Books That Changed the 20th Century.” Forbes magazine called it “the best book on entrepreneurship, management, and leadership in print." [Left, Actual logo for the McChurch idea]

Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. (2 Corinthians 2:17)

And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:3)

Unlike in corporate culture, a lack of innovation in church is a good thing. If the McMass McChurch idea succeeds, the people who attend will get what they get: a Jesus that is fast, lite, insubstantial, and ultimately bad for the heart.

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Here is another example of church folks bowing to culture.

Evangelicals with gay children challenging church
A despondent Ryan cut off from his parents and his faith, started taking drugs and in 2009, died of an overdose. "Now we realize we were so wrongly taught," said Rob Robertson, a firefighter for more than 30 years who lives in Redmond, Washington. "It's a horrible, horrible mistake the church has made." The tragedy could have easily driven the Robertsons from the church. But instead of breaking with evangelicalism — as many parents in similar circumstances have done — the couple is taking a different approach, and they're inspiring other Christians with gay children to do the same. They are staying in the church and, in protesting what they see as the demonization of their sons and daughters, presenting a new challenge to Christian leaders trying to hold off growing acceptance of same-sex relationships.
The article continues with examples of people touting active homosexuality as acceptable to God, and the article author supports their contentions with numerical examples of growth for each of their websites, Facebook pages, or published books that they sponsor/promote this stance.

It's brilliant actually. Satan targets the youth, they succumb to perverse passions, parents who naturally love their children are faced with a dilemma, so parents declare, 'it's happening to me and my experience trumps scripture so scripture must be wrong.'

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Maybe this next article doesn't have to do directly with church and faith so much, or maybe it does.

They say pigs don't fly, but this one came close.
A pig landed on a US Airways flight out of Connecticut on Wednesday, but was taken off the plane after it became disruptive, a spokesperson told ABC News. Jonathan Skolnik, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a passenger on the flight, told ABC News today he thought the woman with the pig was carrying a duffel bag when she got on the plane and headed straight for the empty seat next to him. "But it turns out it wasn't a duffel bag. We could smell it and it was a pig on a leash," he said. "She tethered it to the arm rest next to me and started to deal with her stuff, but the pig was walking back and forth."
photo Rob Phelps

Gothamist Newspaper wrote,
According to ABC, the incident happened on Wednesday at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. The woman had been allowed to bring the pig, who was on a leash, with her—pigs, like dogs, monkeys and cats, can qualify as "emotional support animals," which are allowed on flights under federal rules. Passenger Rob Phelps, who took the photo on top, told CBS Springfield the problem was that this particular piggy was squealing and defecating in the aisle, prompting flight attendants to ask them to leave, which they did without incident.
For people who truly need an Emotional Support Animal, (ESA) for example soldiers with PTSD, the Service Dog Central website states, "In order to fly with an Emotional Support Animal OR Psychiatric Service Dog in the cabin of the aircraft with you, you will need a special letter from a licensed mental health professional." That letter must state the specific disability the traveler has, according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, be not more than one year old, that the animal is necessary to the well-being of the traveler, be lodged with airline authorities 48 hours in advance of travel date, and be written and signed by a licensed medical or psychiatric professional.

True ESAs who are professional and not pets, curl up at the master's feet when not working and are trained not to cause a disturbance. Like perhaps wandering, squealing, and defecating in the aisle. If it was truly an ESA it would not cause a disturbance. If it was a pet, it should not be allowed in  the cabin.

Daily Mail: Pot-bellied pigs WILL fly (along with miniature horses and monkeys): Passengers to be allowed to take exotic pets on flights for 'emotional support'

This website offers information on why the abuse level on ESAs in the cabin is growing- "Service Dogs on Airplanes to Get More Scrutiny From Department of Transportation".

Twitter: FoxCT News reporter Angelica Spanos photo
The twitter feed indicated the pig and owner finally
made it to their intended destination, CT, for Thanksgiving.
"An emotional support animal is a companion animal (typically a dog or cat) that provides a therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship. The animal provides emotional support and comfort to individuals with psychiatric disabilities and other mental impairments. The animal is not specifically trained to perform tasks for a person who suffers from emotional disabilities." Source Animal Law.

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For people without Jesus, these dark and confusing times are oppressive to them and they do not even know it.

The fact is, the more post-Christian the world gets, the more the lost cling to the wrong things for emotional support. It's a stark example of why we need to offer the solution to their sin problem and their emptiness. Jesus is the Friend who knows us, He created us. He loves us and wants the best for us. He sent His Spirit into the world to inspire the world's greatest book full of wisdom, comfort, history, poems, and truth. Without Jesus, the lost person knows none of this.

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