As a faithful, committed Christian, I am saddened by the decline of Christianity in America. Christians often point to R rated movies, trashy television, the removal of the Bible from schools, and abortion, as the major reasons for decline. Though it is possible that those items may have had a small part in the decline of Christianity, it is likely that the biggest culprit is the attitudes of Christians in America.
I recently interviewed a lady over 60 who has little sympathy for Christians or Christianity. I questioned Cindy (not her real name) why she was not a church goer. She shared that as a child growing up in Texas, she attended a Sunday School at a Baptist Church. Normally her parents dropped her at the class time and picked her up after the class. One Sunday her parents decided to stay for the service after the class. That Sunday communion was celebrated. She, like her parents, celebrated with the emblems.
The following week her Sunday School teacher scolded her in anything but a Christian manner in front of all her school friends for taking the emblems and not being a member of the church. Instead of taking Cindy aside and telling her of the love of Christ and reaching out to her for membership, she scarred her for life with that diatribe.
Later in life Cindy married at an evangelical church in Georgia. She was treated badly by the pastor for not being a committed Christian. Another opportunity to share Christ thwarted by ignorance. Some years later Cindy shared that while living in Alaska she attended a love centered church and even though she enjoyed the pastor, congregation, and church message, she moved on. Are you surprised? I am not. The untoward episodes of our youth are remembered for a lifetime. As a nine-year-old Jewish kid I was accosted by a Catholic girl who told me to stay away from her as I had killed Christ. I was overcome with grief and ran away crying. I remember that encounter like it occurred yesterday.
Recent surveys indicate that approximately twenty-five percent of Americans consider themselves active Christians. This is measured by church attendance at least once a month. Fifty years ago that figure was forty percent and measured church attendance weekly. It is true that sixty percent of the respondents consider themselves Christians but make no attempt to worship.
A child comes to church looking for an experience with a living loving God. Instead she receives a public humiliation from a so-called Sunday school teacher and as time goes by she is not interested in what we have to say. We have failed to understand the teachings of Jesus.” “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Today Christians are far too quick to indict others rather than attempting to share the love of Christ. We have become our own worst enemies.
Write Mike Sussman at firstname.lastname@example.org
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