I read with interest a Facebook status recently that contrasted a recent study on young Americans with a similar study taken ten years ago. There has apparently been a dramatic shift in the percentages of these youth in their predilection to Christianity and particularly away from the evangelical church. The author states there are seven reasons why. See the reasons below with my rationale as commentary:
Notwithstanding some obvious biblical stances and mandates on homosexuality, for instance Romans 1:27, it appears to me that many Christians (and many leaders to boot) have placed the cart before the horse—yet again, as we humans are apt at doing—and have forgotten the Golden Rule given us by Jesus. We are not supposed to not love, to quote Rick Warren.
We live on a knife’s edge at times. We’re called to a higher standard of morality, yet we are also never perfect, ever. My local church has adopted a saying, “No perfect people allowed.” This sentiment goes some way to ameliorating us in judgment, but needless to say we’ll always be stuck between the Pharisaic rock of legalism and a morally hard place. Truth yes, but grace also!
And why would we not also only “judge” our own kind (a.k.a. confessing Christians) i.e. rebuking in love, a la Proverbs 27:5-6... “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (NIV)
Huh. The moment we fall for the place as judge over others is the moment we fall for the trap of hypocrisy. It is rather unfortunate that Christians deliberately (often without realising) place themselves in the lap of hypocrisy (stage-playing as a counterfeit of the real Christian ideal) by not holding up to the standards they otherwise profess. We all tend to fail in this regard from time to time. Is this not a salient reminder that we’re not God and never will be? Indeed, he never asks us to be.
Isn’t it a pity that anything to do with Jesus Christ is labelled ‘old-fashioned’? This faith of ours might be 2,000 years old but it’s a new as this morning or even tomorrow morning. It’s humanity’s blasphemous spin, however, that blasts the truth away, leaving only the stinky dregs of a lifeless and worthless faith devoid of God’s majesty, grace and power.
Enter the cauldron. This is what many Christian politicians are called to do, in alignment with God’s general call for us to advocate justice, fairness and righteousness. Yet, the manifestation of this call often hits snags and many of them; and then there’s the average Christian’s sometimes overly pious view that attracts the wrong sort of attention. Why do we discredit God by again being “too judgmental” or “too opinionated”?
Of course we’ll be boring to some. And, of course, what we do may appear strange and unstimulating. ‘Get up at a sparrow’s crack to go to church on Sunday... you’d have to be mad!’ is the prevailing worldly sentiment. And this is only the beginning. The level of sacrifice required to live a really spiritual life (and enjoy those blessings) has no attraction for the vast majority. Christian discipleship is not called “the narrow way” for nothing. But, the truth is the Christian life is the furthest thing from boredom! It’s the gutsiest way.
Insensitive to others
This is perhaps the saddest reality of them all. We’re called to allow the Spirit to groom us and prune our dead branches so the fruit of the Spirit is resplendent in our lives. We’re called to kindness. How can we insult people (remembering it’s their perceptions on whether they feel insulted or not that counts) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—it simply doesn’t work that way. It never has and it never will.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.
 Rowland Croucher, Facebook status, 11 September, 2009 at 1.48 P.M. It read, “A decade ago, a majority of U.S.16-29 year olds were favorably disposed towards Christianity: today it’s only 16% (3% towards evangelical Christians). Why? Common perceptions – ‘anti-homosexual’ (91%), judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), too ‘political’ (75%), boring (68%), insensitive to others (70%). [Kinnamon & Lyons, 2007] Why? why? why? why? why?”