By: Mark Trammell, Esq.
College football season is here. Can you believe it? For many, the last two weekends marked the start of a “religious experience.” Tailgating, watching College GameDay, and talking about how much everyone hates the BCS, all become the Saturday ritual. I, like many, rarely will miss a Saturday.
As fall approaches, and Saturday take the front stage, I am left wondering, what about Sundays? No, I am not referring to the NFL, but rather the importance of church. The importance of being in church every Sunday is a concept rarely preached on these days. It is a concept that makes churchgoers uncomfortable, because after all, we all have busy schedules and can rationalize missing a Sunday or two.
But if we take this lackadaisical approach to Sunday, what should we really expect the rest of the week? For it is in on Sunday morning that we start the first day of the week worshipping God, symbolizing that God deserves our first and best. For it is in church that we fellowship with the body of Christ and are encouraged by fellow Christians. For it is in Church that we hear the preaching of God’s word. For it is in church that we share our burdens with our brothers and sisters in Christ and lift up each other in prayer. For it is in church that we, as a church body, experience fellowship with God.
I recently came across a 2012 PEW Research study shows that only 45% of all adults, who affiliate with a religious denomination, actually attend church on a weekly basis. The same study showed that 36% of adults that affiliate with a religious denomination or groups attend church on a monthly or yearly basis.
To some, these statistics may sound surprising, but why should anyone be surprised? Take a look at a newspaper and it is blatantly obvious that America is turning from God. Consider the following,
- Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, over 55 million babies have been aborted. These babies are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.
- In spring of 2013, the Pentagon released a report explaining that soldiers are not permitted to “proselytize” and may be prosecuted, on a case-by-case basis, for sharing his or her faith with the intent of converting another to his or her religion.
- In March of 2012, at a presentation on extremism at a Pennsylvania Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief on extremism, an army instructor labeled “Evangelical Christianity,” and “Catholicism” as examples of “religious extremism,” in the same breath as Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Ku Klux Klan.
- 13 states and the District of Columbia have redefined marriage to include same-sex couples. From Scripture, we know that God created marriage as the union of one man and one woman, two people becoming one flesh.
- In both California and New Jersey, by statute, licensed physicians are not permitted to provide reparative therapy to minors, under the age of 18, who struggle with an unwanted same-sex attraction and who desire such reparative therapy. This restriction on therapy is a viewpoint-based content restriction aimed at silencing Christian views on human sexuality.
- The Affordable Care Act, AKA “Obamacare” is an assault on religious freedom. Under Obamacare, employers will be forced to provide healthcare coverage for contraceptives, surgical sterilization, and abortifacient drugs, in spite of one’s deeply held religious beliefs.
Why are our churches remaining silent as these atrocities take place instead of radically transforming our culture? Simply put, it is because too many church pews are empty on Sunday morning. How can we expect our culture and laws to honor God’s laws if the church is silent? How can we expect the church to speak if its pews are empty?
So what can be done? How can we turn the tide? The answer is simple – go to church, be energized by the teaching of God’s word, and share God’s love with those around us. We cannot expect to see change on a legislative or policy level until change occurs in the hearts and minds of individuals. And we cannot expect to change the hearts and minds of individuals unless people see Christ and His love in us. The problem is not them (non-Christians); the problem is us (Christians).
But now, more than ever, our nation needs God! We need His protection from harm, His compassion for those in need, His grace for those who slander or persecute us, His wisdom in our times of decision, and we need His church live out His love.
Lewis Carroll once wrote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” As Christians, we know where we as a nation want to go. We want to protect life from conception to natural death. We want to protect marriage, recognizing that it was created by God and is ingrained within the fabric of the Natural Law. And among many other things, we want to advance religious freedom so that future generations of Americans will have the ability to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience. The question I will leave you with today is simple, knowing where we want our nation to go, and recognizing that the path of our nation is dependent upon the collective paths of individuals, what road will you take, and will you give God your first and best?