I recently read an article from the Rev. Dr. David Lose, the new president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (and who grew up in Lebanon County too). The article is entitled The church’s role in our lives? Yes with a question mark at the end of the title.
The thesis question is: Given how many other groups and movements lay claim to our allegiance today, can the church ever expect to exert the level of influence in our lives that it once did?
After some history about the influence of the church upon the culture over the centuries, the article states that civic groups, associations, clubs, sports leagues, and others have made the church less than the center of our lives. Some of the items mentioned were once part of the activity of congregations. I played church league softball in Berks County. My grandfather was a pretty good dart baseball player in a similar church league.
So what is he church to do? Dr. Lose leans toward the concept that the church should help, “bring our other activities into focus, that we might see these different enterprises in light of our faith.” In order for that to happen, the church must have as a goal, “of forming Christian faith in our people.”
He writes, “Slowly but surely [we must] learn the Christian story and, more importantly, learn how to use the story to make sense of our lives and share our faith with others.”
That’s why we offer times of education and discussion for all ages on Sunday morning. But may it also mean that we need to offer times of learning at different parts of the week. The Thursday night study group is one example. But how about on a weekday morning? Or an online discussion group working together on a question of the week? Or an early morning conversation at a local coffee shop?
As we take advantage of these times to learn together, we can make progress in our ability to have our faith make sense and to give us the ability to share that faith with other people. God knows we are a work in progress.
CLIFTON D. ESHBACH