Welcome to our Blog from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor of St. Paul known as the Red Roof Church. I’d like you to join us each week as I share some thoughts with you. Better yet, why not check out our web page at redroofchurch.org or join us for worship this Sunday at 8:30AM or 10:45AM. We’re anxious to share our love for Christ with you.
This week I’ll begin by demonstrating the advantages and disadvantages of a classical education in a Christian Liberal Arts College of 60 years ago. Yes, that would be from the last millennium, but then, so am I. The Bard (that’s Willy Shakespeare for those never introduced to real, classical literature) wrote in his work, Hamlet, a line spoken by the chief protagonist (fancy way of saying “Hamlet said it”) — To Be, Or Not to Be: That is the Question. Well, allow me (with the permission of the master) to paraphrase it by applying it to the act of blogging and/or vlogging — To Blog, Or Not to Blog: That is the Question.
You see, I have discovered that the honest, sincere, exchange of ideas, concepts, realities and perceived truth doesn’t matter. Someone is always going to feel that what is said shouldn’t be said because it will offend, upset or disappoint them. After all, this venue is a method of advertising a particular goal or product. If what is said offends, then the source for the offense (in this case me) could possibly adversely impact the church I serve. Yet, this can be a source for venting and elaborating on topics that need addressing even if some maybe offended, alienated, conflicted or upset.
Look, I’m just sharing my thoughts. While I certainly mention who I am and where I can be found, it is to provide the source for where that is. If you find me irascibly or intellectually stimulating, you could come and learn more, especially about our Lord Jesus. I have a passion for sharing our Lord and helping people think. I am certainly not trying to keep a neutral view on life and subjects of interest to me. Simply, I share my thoughts (underline “my thoughts” not the church’s because they are mine) honestly and sometimes bluntly, while having a little fun even by poking fun at myself. It’s also a way to keep in practice writing to keep me sharp. After all, there’s a sermon which must be prepared each week. I’ll use humor, metaphors, stereotypes, exaggerations and more all for the purpose of getting people to think. Could it turn some people off? Yes. At the same time, it might turn some people on to a train of thought that makes them think. Whether spiritual, political, social or cultural, getting someone to think is always a good thing. God made us to be intelligent creatures. I suspect He intended we should use it. So, the answer to the question as to whether to Blog/Vlog or not is, as far as I’m concerned a big “YES!”. I’m having fun & I like thinking and stimulating others to do the same.
That said, I came across some material on why people leave a church. Certainly the topic is one that affects all churches, regardless of denomination or lack of denomination, in Christendom. There are dozens of sites showing why people move from upbeat, modern contemporary churches with their driving beat and pyro-technic light shows surrounding a moderate Scripture based message to more traditional churches or away from church altogether. There were just as many sites with the reverse explanations of people moving out of traditional mainline churches to contemporary settings or, again, outside the church entirely.
I think of it as a churchy version of shopping at HEB. People used to shop for themselves, you know, walk the aisles, compare prices, fill their carts, bag their groceries, drive them home and unpack them. Now, with ever growing numbers, more and more are having someone else do the work for them so they can just pick the groceries up or even have them delivered to their front door.
People used to be loyal to a church, specifically a congregation, because it was their spiritual home and they identified with it. They invested themselves in it through their involvement. Through thick or thin, good times or bad, they would remain loyal. They understood that to be a member of a church or better yet a disciple means you have to do the work yourself. It isn’t going to be done for you.
Today, I accept the growing numbers of those either incapable of shopping for themselves (We’re getting older — me, too, but I still do my own shopping. We’ve already established in past vlogs I am an in control kind of guy.) or just not wanting to be bothered for less than positive reasons. The number of people in churches wanting a free ride with God delivering a painless, less demanding or critical expectation of their role in the church as a disciple is growing, too. Instead of working to make things better in a church setting, many are now shopping for a church that is better now, at least for today. If things change (and they will) it will be time to go church shopping again. I thought it was about our relationship with Jesus and not what makes me satisfied in church. But I could be wrong.
Too bad! One day I suspect the Lord just might have something to say about all this.
And those are my thoughts.
God bless and have a good week.
Pastor Lee R. Harder