Living In A Vacuum

Frigid air is returning to Southern Illinois. Winter has decided not to disappoint. After making friends with Omicron…the uninvited guest…I find my tolerance for bitter temperatures is less than before and certainly less than in my younger years when I relished the cold… I have been checking daily on my geese friends at Campus Lake. Most of them have left with the frozen Lake…but a few remain. I bonded a bit with the gaggle and was able to snap some close-up photos that have alluded me for years. I marvel at how the geese seem so at home in the icy water…while I am freezing watching them.

I have noted that I am on a bit of a blog series regarding church and the many vagaries of church life. Although I have never been a minister…I have worked in ministry and assisting pastors and most church offices during my 53 years of Christianity. So, most elements of church life interest me and I have thought of them for many years and have experienced a variety of experiences in church. As I watch churches shrink and become diminished in people and resources and outreach…I am troubled. I believe that with all of the challenges that face us humans and occupants of planet earth…becoming secular is not helpful in our present distress.

There are a plethora of cults that have arisen in our society. Not just religious…but political and social. I can show you more than one plaque regarding former Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale leaders that mention early on in the narrative the fact that the person was a dedicated Christian and churchgoer. At least two societal issues have changed the fabric of American society. Since Watergate in the early 70s there is an increasing lack of confidence in our elected political leaders and what was once an established Sunday activity…church attendance…has decreased tremendously. In the place of these one time almost universal experiences has arisen Cults based on conspiracy theories. During January 6, 2021, Capitol Insurrection we saw the ‘Proud Boys’ and ‘The Oath Keepers’ and many other formerly unheard of groups…storm the Capitol of the United States believing that it was their right as they fought to protect their president who lost the election and their way of life…which is a strange amalgamation of political/religious hybrid faith…

Money has become the god of our secular society. Somewhat similar to the Israelites crying out for Aaron to fashion them a Golden Calf…in the absence of Moses. I was amazed when I began to see the turn in many churches to the Prosperity Doctrine. Basically, this doctrine teaches that if you give money until ‘It Hurts’ you will be recompensed many times over by God. I watched ministers get richer and members of the congregation get poorer. The same can be said for Higher Education and business and leadership in general in our society. We seek the rich…we seek the top of the economic ladder…to function as our Wise Men and our Wise Women. The ability to earn a lot of money has become the measure of success in life…while the children suffer from depression and desperation and devastation of soul and death of spirit…

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