Greetings in Christ –
Two weeks after I started the last update, I am trying again. I readily admit the last two weeks have been difficult. Death is always difficult for family and friends, and I suspect I will mourn the loss of my mentor and friend, Billy Abraham, for a long time. No doubt, the sorrow and grief will soften with time, but I don’t ever want to forget the gift of our friendship, the wisdom he shared with me, and the trust he gave me. One thing I know is true for all of us, the day will come when death is swallowed up in life, and the pain, sorrow, suffering, and grief we experience will be forgotten, erased by the immeasurable joy of being in the presence of Jesus Christ. Seeing those we love in glory will be astounding, for we shall them as they truly are, as God created them to be, and we will be amazed.
Until that time and acknowledging the ongoing struggle with grief, we continue looking forward with hopeful ideas and plans for ministry. Much is remaining the same, with posts, podcasts, and Scripture readings on the site. If you haven’t yet, you are encouraged to take advantage of the “Articulated Meditations” found under Series and Specials. Although written last year, the six posts (or meditations) on Christianity, Church, and Culture are recorded by Rev. Douglas Caldwell as podcasts, for those who prefer to listen than to read. Three of the six have been posted already, and the fourth podcast was uploaded today. I'll get the post up as soon as possible. Sometimes, this web work overwhelms me.
Posting the remainder of the series provides me with a break with the hope of completing Created to Be One, a book on the nature and meaning of Christian marriage. That project has been in the works for far too long, and finding time just to write has proven to be a challenge. The research, however, turns out to be fascinating. Suffice it to say that science offers an unexpected, and likely unintentional, support for traditional Christian marriage. (This makes sense, because God created all that is, and research into His creation will ultimately reveal its Creator.)
The current and remaining Christianity, Church, and Culture posts and podcasts will be posted to the site in the weeks ahead. You can listen to the podcast on the website, and they are also available on Apple, Google Play, I-Heart Radio, Pandora, and Spotify. You can locate the podcast by searching under the (very original) name: Servants’ Feast Podcast. If you regularly use any of those apps and enjoy the podcasts you find there, please “Like” and share it with others!
That – liking and sharing – leads to what is happening here at SFCM, which is exciting, I believe. Some of the original ideas formulated for online ministry did not work as hoped, but I figure a bit of failure is a good indication of trying and learning. To that end, we are embarking on more “trying and learning” through social media. I readily admit that I have avoided social media as much as possible, mostly because I couldn't be bothered to learn it. However, times, they are a-changin…
In the days and weeks ahead, I am setting up and integrating different social media platforms with the SFCM website. The goal is not necessarily to reach you because, if you’re reading this, we know how to find you. The question is, how do we find everyone else? How do we take the Gospel of Jesus Christ out into the world? How does this disabled, ol’ grandmother find the broken and broken-hearted who need the love and hope Jesus has for them?
After praying about this for several months, a new acquaintance made a simple observation that changed my perspective completely and was the obvious answer to my prayers. Instead of looking for traditional outlets where Christians are inclined to lurk, I need to find people where they are, i.e: Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, SnapChat, and the like. So, that is what I am doing, with some help from my new colleague and friend, Jon, of the obvious answer. The ministry itself is not going to change – posts, podcasts, and such – but we are going to strive to reach others in ways I have heretofore been unwilling to consider because, well, it's convenient to believe “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Apparently, we are going to give it a try. I feel a bit like the crazy aunt in the attic escaping half-dressed into a busy street. There is new app that just came out (available only on Apple for now) famously, or infamously, called the Wisdom App. I’m a mentor, which is really kind of funny when you think about it. Let me just say, over the years I’ve come to realize that I don’t have much in the way of wisdom except that which comes from God and is available to us all.
I admit to you that I worry about our world. Oh, I don’t worry about it in the sense that I think some drastic and dramatic evil is going to destroy us all. Rather, I worry about the evil that moves unchecked among people who know too little to realize how little they know. People are lost, chasing causes in search of purpose, caught in an arrogant web of ignorance. There is so much loneliness and emptiness in our nation today, especially among younger folks. People who were taught life only has the meaning they give to it are discovering they lack sufficient imagination to gives their lives much meaning at all.
Some years back, a friend and (now retired) high school English teacher told me she and her colleagues decided they had front row seats on the demise of our civilization. That would have been about fifteen years ago, meaning those students are now in their early thirties. Indications are, that English department was correct. For all the education, technological advantage, and potential for success, we have generations of people who truly believe life is pointless. The highest good is whatever can make them happy at any given time. Surely, this is a generalization, but the exceptions are those that prove the rule.
We have stood on the sidelines and allowed the souls of our children and grandchildren to be educated right out of them. Their dependence upon Christ is limited, if they still believe, and most of their friends see little point in serious religion at all. This vague “spirituality” of today is simply the unexpressed wish for a divine self without the barrenness of soul they do not know how to identify, much less satisfy.
It is easy to look at the world and see all the sin. It is Christian, however, to look at the world and see all the wounded and broken longing to live, longing to be fully alive through the bright façade of life in all the weird obsessions and passions that hide slow and painful death. We have no biblical accounts of Jesus being angry with sinners – the tax collectors, prostitutes, and outcasts. Rather, Jesus’ condemnation was aimed at the religious, those who should have known Him and sought to make Him known. I believe we risk the Lord’s judgment when we turn inwardly to protect ourselves and do not reach outward, into the world where Jesus would be seeking the lost, the broken, the guilty, and the demon-possessed.
I want us to try to find these people – the ones who look everywhere to be satisfied, and instead becoming increasingly bound by the chains of anger, division, vulgarity, and disillusionment with each passing day. These are people of infinite value to our God, the beloved He formed in His Image and desires to set free. Our Lord would be passionate about reaching them if He walked among us today, and since we are His Body, then we rightly should be passionate about reaching them in His Name.
We still hope there will opportunities to teach, whether through online classes or in person. Additionally, once Created to Be One is completed, I plan to build on the Christianity, Church, and Culture series by expanding it with contemporary ideas that diminish our humanity – make us less human. So, thinking, praying, and writing to teach the Gospel will not change, irrespective of the platform or platforms we use.
Know that I am grateful for your interest, your prayers, your encouragement, and your support of this ministry. We are certainly in the middle of a rough period, and the Board will meet to assess where we are and what we need to do since we have lost Billy, who served as the Chair of the Board from the ministry’s inception. Even so, the need for the Gospel never lessens, so we will continue to think and to pray to find ways to reach those who do not hear and cannot know that they are the beloved of God, the ones for whom He gave His only Son.
It’s going to be an adventure, but the very best kind!
In Christ –
Rev. Elizabeth Moreau