Several things on my mind which I will offer you in the way of questions.
1. Why wasn’t the Spirit clearer in defining the role of women in the church? This hot topic was a part of some discussion at Gateway last week as I preached from 1st Corinthians 11 and as we studied the same text in our Sunday night Share Groups. Women praying and prophesying in one text and being told to remain silent in another (1st Corinthians 14:34). Understanding all of this is just not our (Church of Christ) struggle. Recently the Gospel Today magazine was removed from racks at LifeWay Christian bookstores for featuring a woman pastor on its cover.
2. Why do some churches stay small while others grow? One pollster discovered that 53% of attendees in mega-churches (over 1000 members) say they share their faith monthly with strangers. Only 35% of attendees in small churches (l00 or less members) say this.
3. Is the United States an Empire? There seems to be a growing trend among some leading theologians to equate the USA to empirical powers of the past and to position the kingdom of God as the antithesis of this empire. Parallels have been made to Egypt, to Rome and to the European colonial powers of history. Recently while browsing through a major book store I noted several non-religious books in the American History section evoking the “empire” term in their titles. Are we?
4. Is this what church is supposed to be about? In the latest Christianity Today they report on the continuing woes of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Several of their larger churches are leaving that denomination to join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The only problem is that the PC (USA) owns their church buildings and land. Now in addition to fighting over ordaining gays in ministry they are engaged in what could be ugly lawsuits about who gets the properties.
5. Have we done well by sanitizing the Devil’s holiday? Everywhere around here a church is hosting a Fall Family Carnival or a Hallelujah Festival (including Gateway). These Christian alternatives to combat the demonic trappings of Halloween are very popular, but I used to hear occasional protests against them. The argument went something like this: We need to stay completely away from anything connected to a celebration of the devil and his doings. (not to mention being accused of swallowing up a pagan festival and re-imagining it as a Christian celebration much like the Catholic Church did with Christmas) Any merit to this?
Feel free to share your wisdom!