I warned you!
What does it mean when we baptize our children? What does it mean when we call ourselves Christian parents? What kind of changes are we willing to make to allow what we say and profess to line up with what we do?
When I look at my life and my church...almost nothing.
No, you say...God is the most important thing in my life. I believe that through God's SANCTIFYING grace, that will one day be true in our church, but right now, WE are the most important things in our lives. Do you know one of the lines that we use to convince people to do mission work? "Even though you are helping other people, it will make YOU feel great." Another one I heard recently, "you should do mission work because it will make YOU feel so good about YOURSELF." (An adult said that)
My husband frequently uses a quote from Kenda Creasy Dean about how teenagers want to give their passion to big causes (paraphrase). I think American, Methodist Christianity is way too easy. We talk about the disciplines (maybe), we talk about tithing (once a year), we discuss "The Cost of Discipleship," but the truth is; the most Christianity costs us is about 10% of our income (net or gross?).
This kingdom was instituted by a homeless guy who died for what he said. Although Jesus was trained as a rabbi (comfortable income level) he chose to focus on bringing a kingdom of grace and mercy to earth (homeless). What are we doing with this legacy? I don't mean American society, I mean me and you. When did our culture start shaping our religion? We love to talk about how we live in a Christian nation, but we need to realize that we live in the world: a world that is raping our religion. We are driven by what gets us the most for the least effort.
What is your pastor supposed to say when you tell her or him that you won't be bringing your child to Bible study because he or she needs to do homework? Or baseball? Or scouts? Or whatever else...What are we telling our children? Six year olds who are told that they may skip church for baseball practice will be twenty year olds who give their time and passion to something more worthwhile. Why bother with the church if something he or she does not even remember doing was more significant. I am certainly not saying that we should go back to a rigid society that demands mindless observance of a ritual. What I am saying is, God's kingdom is the most desperately important thing on earth.
There are still people who experience hell all around us, and we still have "not resisted to the point of shedding our blood." (Hebrews 12:4) That passage refers to sin. I am saying our selfish culture is not funny...it is sin. It is sin that others are enslaved for our capitalism. It is sin that teenage mothers feel so rejected they would rather have a dangerous surgery than seek the shelter of churches. It is sin that our children are unaware of the stories of our faith.
When we baptist our children, we profess that we believe that Christianity is so important we would symbolizing drowning our children and allowing God to raise them into God's kingdom. Church is not a hobby or a social club or even a healthy community to raise children in. The kingdom of God coming to earth is the most important thing in the world. It should be costly. Is it worth it? Ask the woman who was willing to accept the crumbs under the table of the chosen people. (Matthew 15)
So, what do I say when you are too busy for Bible study? Our churches must have misrepresented what it is they are selling, because if you knew, you would be telling the baseball coaches of the world that it's ok for my son or daughter to sit on the bench, because there are things that are just more important than your practice.
I warned you!