1. We want to be able to connect and influence as many rising freshman as possible to love and serve Jesus. To do this we need to know who they are, if you would, please tell them about the “THRiVE College & Career” facebook group and tell them to join so they can get plugged in and know what is going on at WCU & SCC. If you want to send me their names I will find them on facebook (facebook stalk *smile) and invite them to be my friend, and join the “THRiVE College&Career” group. THX!
3. Bible Study this Sunday Night July 19th-Aug. 9th at my house next door to Webster Baptist Church near the campus of WCU. Come one come all. 8pm start time! Bring a Bible!
4. Invitation to complete a long and boring but important survey…
I’m doing research in a controversial area: the relationship between Christianity (endorsement of the central tenets of Christianity) and attitudes toward homosexual people apart or separate from attitudes toward homosexuality as a lifestyle. Most research does not make that distinction. Now, I need a sample of self-identified and “active” Christians to compare to a secular sample. That’s where students involved in THRIVE (you’re the Christian sample) can be a great help to me and this body of research more generally. I have already collected measures of attitudes toward homosexuals and homosexuality among a secular sample.
Please consider completing one or both of the surveys below. Each survey should take about 20 minutes. Your responses will be kept completely anonymous and confidential so please respond candidly.
Thank you so much. Your participation is a great help.
SUNDAY NITE LEADERSHIP BIBLE STUDY IS CANCELLED! SEE Paragraph below for details.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME! MINI THRiVE C&C Summer Reunion! Ok so I know this is last minute but if anyone wants to go with us to see Chris Masters (former WCU baseball player and fellow Jesus Lover) pitch against the Greeneville Astros Sunday June 28th let me know asap. Text/call/message me and I will put you on the list. If your near WCU we will leave from Webster Baptist Parking Lot @ 3pm SHARP if you wanna ride the good old WEBTran!!! We will get to the ball park at 5pm and eat dinner there and the game starts at 6pm. Tickets are $5 and you should bring money for dinner at the ballpark. 828.736.3586 or JasonSpeier@gmail.com If you are in asheville or near Greeneville, TN where the game is being played and want to meet us there just let me know so we can get a count. Here is the google maps link for the Greeneville Astros Statium. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=135+Shiloh+Road,+Tusculum,+Greene,+TN&ll=36.37743.305344&spn=0.025134,0.059395
IMP! Please keep praying for Wes Lancaster…21 yo Jr at WCU…ventilator has been reduced to 65…he’s on a paralytic drip to keep him still and let ventilator do work, still in semi drug induced coma, but his oxygen saturation levels are back up to 99-100% which is good, feeding tube to be inserted soon, in a special bed to take pressure off his lungs there in ICU…improved but still having a rough time of it. (Harold thanks for this update)
Has Christian America come to an end? That question has been hotly debated since Newsweek published their recent feature story reporting that the number of Americans claiming no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990. Additionally, the percentage of self-identified Christians has dropped ten points in the past two decades.
As an evangelical pastor with one of America’s fastest-growing churches in one of its least churched cities, I do not find the report surprising or discouraging. Newsweek missed the subtle — but vital — difference between Christian America and Christendom America.
Christian America is comprised of those people who have had a truly transforming experience with Jesus Christ and are living new lives as practicing Christians. Experts such as sociologist Bradford Wilcox at the University of Virginia have well documented the fact that those who practice Christian faith by reading their Bibles regularly, attending church, praying, and so forth are far less likely to engage in acts such as adultery, divorce, substance abuse, and the like.
Christendom America is comprised of those people who have not had a truly transforming experience with Jesus Christ and are living lives virtually indistinguishable from those who are non-Christians. The confusion is that it was common in Christendom for people who did not practice Christianity to profess Christianity. This was often done for social reasons, such as living in a culture that expected church affiliation, being born into a religious tradition and assuming it was simply part of one’s identity (like a cultural or racial connection), or personally, socially, and vocationally benefitting from being connected, even loosely, to a church or denomination. Researchers such as George Barna have documented the fact that, as Jesus himself said, not everyone who says he or she is a Christian is in fact one.
Subsequently, the Newsweek report simply confirms the fact that, just as Christendom has died in Europe and the major American cities, it is now dying in the suburban and rural areas of America as well. With the social benefits of professing to be a Christian no longer in place and the social stigma of not professing to be a Christian now lifted, those who were part of Christendom America are simply no longer pretending to be part of Christian America.
Since those who professed faith but did not practice faith were confusing to account for, this is actually a good thing. Now, it is more likely that if someone is a Christian or non-Christian, he or she will state so plainly.
Therefore, the number of Christians has likely not diminished as much as has been reported, but rather we are seeing an increasingly accurate accounting of actual Christian America. The ARIS study confirmed this by saying that the number of people who claimed to be Christians decreased, while the number of people who claimed to be evangelical increased. This fact is not discouraging, but rather clarifying.
Additionally, Christianity has always reformed itself around major technological innovations. Just as the printing press enabled the Protestant Reformation, so too the Internet and video technology are changing how ministry is done. Networks are currently overtaking denominations as the gathering place for innovative young leaders, megachurches are using video to become multi-site, and young pastors are increasingly moving into cities to plant churches. Our own church planting network Acts 29, for example, now has 250 church plants and is on pace to be at one thousand churches in roughly seven years. We are not alone. As the churches and ministry forms of Christendom are dying, new churches, networks, and ministry forms are replacing them with great passion, as the ARIS study confirms. Therefore, while it is too early to tell, we may in fact simply be living in the time between the times of Christendom and post-Christendom America, with Christian America getting more innovative and devoted than ever and poised to see many more lives changed by Jesus Christ.
There is one thing that is concerning, namely the loss of the residue of some aspects of Protestant morality. For example, as authority is less and less respected, and social order becomes more difficult to maintain, and sexual sin increases the number of addicts and abuse victims (as we are dealing with by the thousands in our church), the result will be a culture that is less beneficial for Christians and non-Christians alike. This is because, although being good does not save you, insofar as the culture is concerned, it is still good. Proceeding forward, the distinctions in lifestyle between Christian America and non-Christian America will become increasingly stark and will require great service by the church in the areas of mercy and justice to help people damaged by a Christless culture.