The Good News

We all like good news. In our troubled world, the good news is hard to find. As the old folks used to say, ‘As scarce as Hen’s Teeth.’ Have you ever searched for Hen’s Teeth…then you understand the comparison… Our society has brought an insular and a loner mentality to most of us. I fondly remember when all of our neighbors sat out on their front porches during the spring and summer and most of the fall and walked to each other’s houses and ‘sat a spell’ and visited with their friends. There was no internet nor Facebook or satellite television…and people were the connection to happiness and community. Trust in our human family was in good supply and loneliness and depression were kept a bit more at arm’s length as we communed with each other and compared notes on the vagaries of life.

Pastor Kerry spoke of a church survey that is now circulating among our congregation that has illustrated that we are concerned about declining membership. I heartily agree that declining church membership is a serious and ever-increasing problem. The misplaced notion that people today are no longer into church…is not correct. They may not think of an answer to their loneliness or hunger for human companionship…as a church…but they are seeking someone who cares about them. Also, the old adage of, ‘Let George do it,’ is not the solution to the declining membership often thought of like the old almost unsolvable puzzle of a Rubiks’ Cube. Church is family. Church is love. Church is someone to accompany you on the often rocky path of life…

During my 32-year and 2 months and 3-week career at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, I served on several committees whose primary purpose for being was the examination and subsequent solutions to our declining enrollment problem. The University is a person or a few people to the lonely and missing their home student. Often it is not a professor or the chancellor or the president…but the janitor or the clerical assistant or the librarian working at the Circulation Desk in Morris Library…who represents the friendship and love and concern of SIUC. We tend to overthink issues and develop massive three-part plans that miss the forest for the trees. Student enrolment at Southern or membership in a church is a person to person equation…1+1=2…

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