Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Work to Do / Isaiah

The Reverend Jim Wallis, author of “God’s Politics” and editor-in-chief of “Sojourners” can be credited for many of the successes of the progressive Christian movement in America. Very simply, he wrote the book on it and, with Sojourners, continues to bring an incredibly calm and reasoned voice to the fray of religion and politics. In his SojoMail of yesterday he wrote this:

“As the Religious Right has diminished in influence, many are searching for a new political agenda that doesn't fit the standard right/left battles of American politics and is more consistent with their deeply held values.”

He was writing more about the release of “Come Let Us Reason Together” by Third Way, a progressive strategy center, but what struck me was the opening statement, that the Religious Right had diminished in influence. Reading it gave me cause to consider for the first time that yes, indeed they have. Thank God!

Truly my first thought was that I could close this blog down and move on to other work, but that isn’t really the case. There is still much to be done. An article in the L.A. Times today points to research done by the Barna Group that shows a growing negative view of Christianity among 16-29 year old non-Christians. Just as bad, many young Christians feel the same way, let down by their churches where many issues of interest such as media, movies, television and technology aren’t discussed.

There is much work to be done indeed. The fields are ripe and even, perhaps especially, the churchgoing young need to be reached. I don’t know about you, but my years from confirmation to fatherhood were well outside of the church and, coming back, I realize that many of our youth will take that same walk away. How many will make it back? What can we, and that means you in your community and I in mine, do to guide them?

I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with groups of high school kids. Yes, really, I do consider that one of my great good fortunes! Bringing my daughters to church caused me to get involved and really this is where I found my faith. I wasn’t not of faith, I just wasn’t seeking growth in faith at all nor had I been participating in the community of the church. Taking the call to join a regular Bible study and to recognize that I would be an example to the youth was something I took to heart and I am thankful for the opportunity.

While preparing an upcoming study for the high school youth on Isaiah I had planned to discuss most of the “missing” topics noted but hadn’t considered technology as part of the equation. Isaiah’s call against the ills of the society of his day fits quite perfectly the situation we currently face and his prophecies of future events are awe inspiring. Anyone want to help me with ideas on fitting “technology” into this study? For that matter, many minds are better than one – I’m open for input on the study of Isaiah and welcome any insight you might like to share. The chapters I intend to cover include (but aren’t limited to) Isaiah 1, 7, 45, 49, and 55.

One more thought to add here and I’m done: If you haven’t already, please take the time to view John Edward’s video below. It’s a great call to action and there is need aplenty. What will you do? When? How much time do you think you have with your own kids? With others you can reach? With others you can help?

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