God is too powerful to be set aside by culture. Strangely, He's humble enough to let it happen, but it shouldn't. Churches---as we are---evidently must not be the cure eventhough we have as many of those as we do bars. Really, while attendance is strong and increasing at the casinos, churches are in greater number. Why is our heartbeat overall not felt more strongly in our various societies (dependent upon which world continent the reader of this blog lives)?
I believe we are suffering defeat (in front of a Victorious Lord) because we have transplanted Jesus to Leader Emeritus where we make sure we toss his name into the gratitudinal history....but our focus is upon more surface matters.
Surface matters? I believe churches have shifted without realizing the slow boil. Gradually the drive to reach the unreached has been replaced by brand-name competition. We compete for attendance. We compete in doctrinal accuracy. We scramble for the latest effective method. All-the-while, Jesus' role seems to be Leader Emeritus; one great guy but no longer on the cutting edge of culture.
If we moved deeper by going back into him, what would need to change for us? Restoring church hearts for the love of mankind would be good for starters. There is no greater thread of societal hope than what Jesus portrays in the Good Samaritan story. Yet, we as aggressive, mission-talking congregations struggle to see that something as simple as all of the visitors are greeted.
Another change would be to confess our sinful nature of making doctrine more important (again) than people. Churches are filled with ritualistic checklists which do not have people in mind...except those who violate the checklists. I believe what Jesus notes to be the greatest command is another way of saying the true church doctrine is.....people.
Jesus was a people-person. If we are going to really move about as he....we will touch the lepers and the immoral....and all strangers. If we are only going to commit ourselves to our favorite church organization as some do the Red Cross or the Masons, then society will be without the tender voice of the Lamb who heals...and churches will subsequently and appropriately flat-line.