Cool Summer Rain

The Blog had to come first this morning. As I sit on the writing porch and watch the wonderful rain fall I knew that my writing inspiration would not be greater than right now. MJ just noticed that some of our leaves are changing…already. Could that be a harbinger of an early fall? We attended a memorial service at our church yesterday. It did not occur to me until I had left that my visit was my first in nearly 17 months…and it seemed to me like yesterday. A year of normal travel and interaction and ingress and egress to our favorite social groups and houses of worship and restaurants and businesses has disappeared like magic. The effects of our on-going Pandemic are yet to be fully realized. History will record the true transitions that the 2020/2021 Pandemic has wrought. From economics to social interactions to the needed change in faith communities…we have yet to understand the tremendous change that we are in the midst of.

I was thinking of the change that is needed in churches. We who have been churched and settled in our dogma and doctrine and forms of worship…are watching our congregations become the Incredible Shrinking Church. In our determination to not respond to the needs of a lonely and hungry people who are seeking a faith that addresses the real issues that they confront on a daily basis…we loose the spiritual nomads to the many social and sport and fun enterprises that exist for the family on the christian sabbath…Sunday. The human needs are not less…they are greater. The desire to seek and find a God and a faith that understands and wants our input and our vitality and our skills to be a part of it…is inherent in the human spirit. We are members of an increasingly uncertain world…and we long for something to put our faith and trust in…to be an anchor for our soul…

Cults have stepped into the void of the christian church. Denominational churches that at one time had hundreds of members…now have under 100…and continue to shrink by the passing of their lifelong members. When asked…church leadership will say…’Don’t change a thing as this is how the parishioners that I represent want the church to function.’ ‘And the beat goes on,’…but it is the downbeat. The scripture admonishes us to not seek the living among the dead. Some of our ways for reaching out to the lonely throngs around us who have lost loved ones to our Pandemic and who wonder what is the purpose of their lives…and who can not see anyone who seems to care about them…have failed due to our failure to update the program. We have failed because of our fear of change. We have failed because we fail to let go of some of the aspects of a 1950’s church manual…and our refusal to renew our outreach to the people of a new century…we protect a dead program…as we die…

Almost every town and hamlet and village has a cult thriving in its midst. These are faux christian communities that have taken the following of Christ and replaced it with the following of a pastor or minister. These groups ‘Love Bomb’ the prospective member until, as the master fisherman would say, they have the hook firmly implanted in the new prospects jaw. Then comes the Rules of the Road for the new member. A mandatory dedication of a herculean component of their finance to the cult and an obeisance to the groups leader or leaders. These groups can be marked by the increasing financial abundance of the leaders and the penury of the followers. These fake faith communities are noted by their requirements of servitude and work for the common cause and little personal decision making or thought…which is left to the leaders of the group. Cults are thriving while christian churches are dying. Where there is a vacuum of leadership…the wolves will ascend.

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