As Religious Strife Grows, Europe’s Atheists Seize Pulpit –

The above linked article tells of the rise of Atheism in Europe. It has transcended into the realm of religion itself with “preachers” and “congregations” that meet regularly. While on the surface, this is bad news for those of us proclaiming the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ, we should look at this as an opportunity for continued dialogue and discussion.

Demographers tell us that spirituality, in all of its forms, is at a high-water mark in our world. It is ‘in’ to seek after the meaning of life and to make some peace with our existence. I don’t know of a better soil from which to plant the seeds of the Gospel message.

Rather than running from the issues and the dialogues with people who differ from us, let us run toward the people who are seeking after truth. Instead of judging / condemning those who think differently, let us love them into the Truth. Instead of throwing rocks at the organized Church, let’s work to make it a stronger vehicle for the world.

The 11:00 service at First Church yesterday was a microcosm of what the church is all about. We baptized an infant and covenanted with a family to raise the child in an environment that will foster his faith. We also baptized a man who professed Jesus as the Lord of his life and covenanted with him to share our love and lives together.

The Church is a family of faith. A place to come with all your hurts, your shame, your questions, your joys, your scars and your dreams. A place to serve, be served, and in the process grow in the image of Christ.

Is the family ready to reach out in new and authentic ways? Are we in a place that we are grounded in our faith so that we are not caught off guard by each and every new “discovery”? I believe that we have much to offer and give to this world. We are but beggars offering to show another the bread basket. They are hungry, are we ready?