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The Religious Landscape in America Today
Join us for visiting theologian Prof. Wilburn T. Stancil
Sundays April 12 – May 3, 10:30 a.m., Westminster Hall
(The April 26 session will be at 9:30 a.m.)
Explore religion in America today with one of Kansas City’s premier scholars as he guides us through the effects of culture and politics on religion, the decline of denominational loyalty, the draw of being “Spiritual, But Not Religious,” and the impact of the electronic media on religion. Other topics will include fundamentalist extremists, the search for transcendence through “new age” rituals, and future trends in religion.
Our new ChristCare small groups have begun meeting for activities and outings. Check out this ChristCare Groups Overview for something that interests you, or contact Pastor Dave with your idea for a small group.
Unlimited is the name of our new program for Young Adults! Join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. in Westminster Hall for Bible study, praise music, and prayer, with optional small group fellowship and mission outreach.
Join us at 9:30 or 11:30 a.m. Sundays for worship!
Handbell and Chancel choirs add their “voices” to the worship service.
Gabe Lyons, author of “The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the Word” and “Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity and Why It Matters,” told a gathering of 300-plus people, me included, that dogma – our religious practices based solely on tradition regardless of their effectiveness or lack there-of – is what really bothers those who describe themselves as spiritual but not religious. Among these “nones” as they’ve come to be called – because when asked about their religious affiliation they check the “none” box – 65% consider themselves spiritual and more than 50% say faith is important to them. So what are we missing in connecting with these folks here in Independence and the surrounding communities?
Lyons suggested that the Church has emphasized the middle of “God’s word for humanity” at the expense of the outer ends. Picture a line with the words Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Reconciliation written left to right. His point is that we do a real good job of talking about the Fall and our Redemption in Jesus Christ. However, that may not be the best entry point for those uncertain about the church and its religious practices. Perhaps greater emphasis on God’s work of Creation and Reconciliation would speak more authentically to people seeking to understand their lives in relation to their Creator and Savior.
I very much appreciated hearing this perspective and hope to find ways of breathing life into it through my ministry at First Presbyterian Church. I invite you to join me in this. How is God doing a work of Creation in your life? Where is God extending the hope and promise of Reconciliation? Take a moment right now to jot down two or more areas of your life – but no more than four – where God is at work and/or awaiting a response in your life. Over the next four weeks, focus on these two to four areas in your life. Look for God’s hand, listen for God’s word, and respond in the hope and promise Jesus Christ. And then as Thanksgiving approaches, find ways to thank God for being active in your life and in our world.
And to God be the glory!