Summary: A look at the attitudes of the modern church compared to what the true church must be like.
By Pastor Jim May
We live in a fast-paced world. Less than 100 years ago, most people were still riding wagons, drawn by mules, ox or horses. Air travel was non-existent. TV’s did not exist. Radio was just beginning to make its presence known in the homes of private citizens. Telephones were in the cities but very few in the rural areas. Horseless carriages, that would become the sleek automobiles of today were not much more than a noisy buggy that belched smoke and created havoc in the streets wherever they went. Most laundry was still being done by hand with a rub-board and hand wringer. Cooking, by-in-large, was done on wooden stoves, and bathrooms were still out behind the house.
We’ve come a long ways since that day, and I, for one, thank God that we have. I love the modern conveniences. Life is so much easier today that it was just 100 years ago, at least for most of us in the industrialized nations of the world.
Of course, some of the modern conveniences are not quite as welcomed as others.
Mr. Alvin Verette of New Roads, Louisiana, owns and operates the nation’s first drive-in Funeral Home. For the convenience of time-pressed mourners, the deceased is displayed before a five-by-seven foot picture window. Friends and relatives can drive up to the window and pay their last respects without getting out. Mr. Verette says, "We wanted something for people who didn’t have time to dress for the occassion." If I pass from this life and wind up in that place, don’t even bother coming by. If you’re too pressed for time to even get dressed, you’re just too busy to worry about coming to see a shell of clay in a picture window.
Conveniences don’t always mean that things are better either. For instance, in one picture that I saw of the “modern” kitchen equipment of the 1950s there is a single pan on a gas stove, a spoon and a knife and a hand mixer. On the table was a typical Sunday dinner of roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, salad, two vegetables, homemade rolls and an apple pie. Another picture showed the standard equipment of a kitchen of today. There was a food processor, bread maker, pasta maker, juicer, rice steamer, Ginsu knife system and a 20-piece cookware set. But what was the typical Sunday dinner that was shown? Microwave pizza.
When I was a kid, too long ago almost to remember, there weren’t many other kids around so I had to learn to entertain myself. I had plastic soldiers that I fought the entire Civil War and World War II with, over and over. We had to build “forts” in the briar patches and trails through the weeds. We dug in the dirt, and probably ate a lot of it too, over time. I made toy guns and swords out of tree branches. There were some toys around but not a lot. But I never missed them and learned to have an imagination.
Today kids have more toys than they know what to do with but they don’t play with them. Most of them don’t have much of an imagination because they let computer game programmers control their imagination through the games that are created. I love computers myself, but I’m glad that I grew up in a time when they didn’t exist so I could learn to think for myself instead of what someone else told me to think.
Sometimes, we look back with nostalgia at the “good old days” don’t we, at least those of us who have lived long enough to remember some good old days.
How much of the good old days can you remember? Can you remember carrying buckets of water and heating them on the stove just to take a lukewarm bath, instead of just turning on the faucets in the bath? Can you remember splitting the wood with a dull, rusty axe, just to heat the stove to make coffee, instead of turning on the cappuccino machine? Can you remember the cars without air-conditioning, homes with no air-conditioning and church in the old brush arbor on wooden planks? Some things, folks, I would just as soon forget.
Christianity has changed somewhat too. We have tried to make it more convenient to “worship” God, ever making the church more worldly, in an effort to make the worldly more comfortable in the church.
Don’t preach against sin and bring condemnation upon them anymore, just make them feel good about themselves and make them feel at home and they will stay awhile. They might stay but they will still burn in hell if they don’t repent of their sin and get saved!
One church offers a “Higher Ground” service that is described like this. The Higher Ground gathering is an alternate style service. Seating is around tables – bring your coffee from our nearby Higher Ground Café. The music is very modern and there are often opportunities during the message for discussion. Additionally, there is a Question and Answer period at the end of the message. This is a great place for people who are new to Church or those who are looking for a less “traditional” service.