Thanks to Jen for hosting 7 Quick Takes. I'm excited to join in the fun today!
Protestants struggling to keep Millennials in church. son lays prostate with his priest father. Awesomely funny blog: Momma Knows, Honeychild. New school starts for the older two boys. Jim Gaffigan quote. Thoughts on "sending positive thoughts your way". Pat Robertson devalues the lives of poor children (who are also blessings from God in my Bible!)
1. A message I keep seeing recurring in the evangelical Christian world is that the flashy mega churches aren't working. Sure, they might be bringing people in the doors with their concert-style "sanctuaries" and night club-style worship services and casual lobbies, but what they are teaching people isn't sticking. The youth are falling away at higher and higher numbers. Once they leave their homes and go out on their own, they leave God, too. The Washington Post ran an interesting article about this frightening trend. The author points out that the effort to make Christianity "cool" is not making disciples.
The part that struck me most from the article was the summary in the last paragraph (my emphasis in bold):
As a Millennial, if I’m truly honest with myself, what I really need from the church is not another yes-man entity enabling my hubris and giving me what I want. Rather, what I need is something bigger than me, older than me, bound by a truth that transcends me and a story that will outlast me; basically, something that doesn’t change to fit me and my whims, but changes me to be the Christ-like person I was created to be.Folks, this is the Catholic Church that people are longing for, and this is why 18 to 30-years olds are converting to Catholicism more now than ever before. They crave the Truth of Jesus that was given to us by Jesus 2,000 years ago and that will not change - cannot change - to fit the world's fleeting whims and trends.
2. I saw this article about Father Patrick Allen, who is the second Episcopal priest in South Carolina to join the Catholic Church through the Anglican ordinariate. The picture of him laying prostate with his son beside him really really blessed me.
I think I need to lay prostate before the Lord. And not because I have five kids who exhaust me most days. Can laity just go and lay prostate before the Lord? Someone who is Catholic - please tell me! I need this!
3. So one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer Fulwiler, let her readers in on a little gem-of-a-blog called "Mama Knows, Honeychild" Now I have added Heather to my list of favorite bloggers! I read through some of her posts yesterday and I was laughing so hard that I was crying. I even lost my breath and worried for a couple of seconds that my lungs weren't going to be able to inhale. I worried I would die from laughing. Literally. "Warm It Up" especially hit me hard. I cannot tell you how many times we've sat our hineys on the couch and ate fattening snacks while "getting inspired" by watching the "The Biggest Loser". So I knew by the first picture of the blog it was going to be something I could relate to.
4. My sons' Catholic school shut down last year (don't want to talk about it - makes me too sad), so they have started their new school and have been there for a week. It's the closest public elementary school to our house, and we had heard great things about it. So far I've been thrilled about it. And my sons are adjusting pretty well considering. My oldest son says that everyone there is really nice (big sigh of relief for a momma!) I have mixed feelings - super happy about the school, super sad that they don't pray or learn about Jesus during their school day.
5. My new favorite comedian is Jim Gaffigan. Our pediatrician told me about him because he has five kids. I looked him up on the internet, and really liked his acts. He's come out with a new book, My Dad is Fat, and I love that he is bringing attention to the crazy wonderful that comes with a big family. After all, what is the point if you can't laugh (hysterically) at yourself? Here's quote from Jim Gaffigan that I love (emphasis mine):
“I watch the faces of single people in their twenties after I bring up that I ‘have children.’ I imagine them taking a small step backward as if to avoid contagion, with a look of ‘Sorry to hear that’ on their face. Like I naively volunteered to contract leprosy, forever quarantining myself from the world of having fun by having children. Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seem uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life. I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy. Each one of them has been a pump of light into my shriveled black heart. I would trade money, sleep, or hair for a smile from one of my children in a heartbeat. Well, it depends on how much hair.”He gets it.
6. One comment I see over and over on Facebook from my non-Christian friends is something like "sending positive thoughts your way!" This is mostly used to try to comfort others who may have posted that they are having a difficult time with this or that in life. I asked the question, what does this phrase mean? How does one send positive thoughts to another person in such a way that it would benefit the other person? I got all kinds of answers. One person even equated it to telepathy. Someone said I was over thinking the phrase (which is probably true, and as a real nerd I have to over think everything). It seems to me it is just a phrase that people say to say something nice, but it doesn't have any power behind it. I think it is interesting the lengths the world will take to sound like Christianity, but with all fluff and no power. As for me, if I am having a hard time in life, please pray for me. I would appreciate to know that you're thinking about me, but that doesn't really help me with my problem, does it?
7. Boy, Pat Robertson made a lot of people mad this week by insulting the dignity of poor children and taking a dump on the value of their lives (not to mention fanning the flame that is the division between Catholicism and Protestantism). If you didn't catch what he said on his program about birth control and ragamuffin kids, you can catch it here. It is hugely offensive what he said about God-given life, and many people have pointed that out. I'd like to point out something else he did that is anti-Protestantism in a big way. When I was an evangelical Protestant, what your pastor preached was a big deal. He's your pastor, he's your shepherd charged with guiding you through this earthly life. So this woman who wrote to Pat Robinson says her pastor taught that contraception is a sin against God (which it is). And Pat Robertson trumped her pastor and said he was wrong and he didn't even give any Bible verses to back it up. Didn't Pat Robertson just make himself the pope of the Protestants? I mean, who gave him the authority to trump a pastor? Furthermore, what version of the Bible he is getting his answer from? I think Pat Robertson thinks too highly of himself and needs to get his brain back in the Word of God. Division within Christianity makes me ill (and was one of the things that lead me to the Catholic Church), and he is promoting division, he is promoting the killing of children for the idol of self. Maybe he should read Jim Gaffigan's book.