I was startled recently to discover that roughly 70 percent of the world’s Christians live without the right to worship (Belz, Mindy, “Joining the Chorus,” World Magazine, February 16, 2019). We are privileged to live in the 30 percent can take going to church publicly for granted. We can become complacent and nonchalant about it. But those who do not have the right to worship in their countries tend to be more devoted to worship when done in secret. There is more of an urgency and necessity among those who do not have the right to worship. They find a way to do it. They are excited to take part. They are drawn closer to Christ through the activity of clandestine church.
The next time you go to church, imagine that you do not live in a place where you can worship openly. How does that affect your worship? Is there a richness, a depth, that perhaps was not there before? Is there more joy in the practice of worship when you consider it is something that is not allowed in most of the world? Is there a greater gratitude to God for the blessing of public worship?
Keep the 70 percent in prayer. Keep going to church. Keep the Church alive through your dedication to it.
We live in an increasingly pluralistic society. Pluralism is the philosophy that holds that no single explanation or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life. As a result, most issues are considered “neutral” (neither right nor wrong) and can be determined by the individual as he or she sees fit.
The problem for the Christian Church because of pluralism is that the Christian Church becomes only one of many possibilities for how to look at the world, and, therefore, any standard of truth or conduct is diminished or often even disregarded.
Pluralism leads to a kind of chaos of thought in which nothing is agreed upon and there are no set rules for anything. It’s about your truth and my truth and their truth and all are considered okay in this framework.
I recently read an article in the Lifestyle section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in which the reporter talked about the clutter that accumulates on her dresser and how that clutter affected her morning routine negatively (Sultan, Aisha, “The Trick To Organizing Flat Surfaces,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb. 26, 2017, H4). She ended up hiring an organization consultant to help her out, and the consultant told her to keep only those things that she truly used or wanted to look at every single day and remove all the rest. You can see the results in this before-and-after photo.
We all have “dumping grounds” where we put all our stuff. And at some point we need to go through it and get rid of the clutter so we can live in a calmer, more peaceful and more organized environment.