Struggling with complacency


Struggling with complacency


There is something that gnaws inside me when I’m immersed in the world of Christian institutions. I see that we are quick to celebrate our successes while never properly facing our failures. I think about the conclusions George Barna has come to in surveying American values and behavior. If what he finds is true, and your average evangelical doesn’t act differently than anyone else on a handful of major ethical issues, then the net impact of every evangelical ministry in America is almost nil. Every church, seminary, bible school and youth group is unsuccessful in facilitating the life transformation that would result in less racism, more generous giving or less broken families.

There are success stories. Almost every ministry has anecdotal evidence that they are accomplishing something . However if the average evangelical lives an indistinct life, this must mean for every success we celebrate there is a failure. For every person that moves from darkness to light, someone slides from light to darkness. For each new person that walks through the front door another slides out the back.

We don’t notice this because we pay much more attention to our successes than our failures. It disturbs me that we are as comfortable as we are. More and more I struggle living in a world that assumes we are making a difference for the Kingdom of God while we remain largely safe, secure and comfortable collecting an income.

These days I’m forced to ask myself if I am the last man in the parable of the talents who refused to take any risk and buried his talent in the ground.

  1. #1 by James on October 29, 2006 - 9:04 am

    Leighton,

    A provocative post, but accurate. We think our programs make a difference, but forget that it is only Jesus that can make the difference.

    James

  2. #2 by Aaron on October 29, 2006 - 10:46 am

    Right on. I like the connection to the parable, and I have been asking myself some of the same questions recently, in regards to what you call “making a difference for the Kingdom of God while we remain largely safe, secure and comfortable collecting an income.” When does “prudence” become plain selfishness?

    Some of us may wake up one day to find ourselves of the world but not in it.

  3. #3 by Jeremy Kliever on October 31, 2006 - 6:12 pm

    I agree on all points, LT.

    However, I’ve been recently thinking about that parable as well. What if we are the man who poorly invests his talent and has less to show for than when he began. I think this is not only indicative of the church, but this is what I worry about in my own life. In this information age, we have to be the one’s getting the least return out of our investment. You do reap what you sow…

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