Monday, January 17, 2005

Who Gets the Kids?

Alright, one more thing. I read this in today's Wall Street Journal, great piece, but scary to read. A nice story about a good President is excerpted below, followed by a well meaning, but confused troubled youth worker:

Sara Trollinger is among those in Orlando working to help young people embody conservative values. She is the founder of House of Hope, a residential facility that counsels teens in crisis using biblical principles.
Her political ties were forged through a miracle of sorts. On May 28, 1985, an article was written about her program in the Orlando Sentinel. That day, President Ronald Reagan happened to be in town giving a speech. Ms. Trollinger says she prayed he would see the article. He got on Air Force One after the speech, read the story, and wrote the facility a personal check for $1,000.
Today, a photocopy of Mr. Reagan's check hangs in the facility's entryway. A large painting of Jesus is surrounded by photos of Ms. Trollinger with Mr. Reagan, George W. Bush, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. When conservative leaders speak of faith-based initiatives, they often laud House of Hope, which has seven affiliates.
Most of the 37 teens living in the Orlando facility have awful histories: violence, abuse, addictions. Almost all of them say they support Mr. Bush. They've discussed that he was a drinker who found God, and they see themselves in that story. "God can change your character if you let him," said Gus, 16. Ms. Trollinger describes Bill Clinton as "a terrible role model for our young people." She had residents pray for him when he was president.
The teens are also schooled in the nuts and bolts of politics, including taking road trips to the state capital in Tallahassee to see how bills are passed.
"This is the generation that will change the morality of America," Ms. Trollinger says. "The scripture says 'a little child will lead them.' "

God Bless Sara Trollinger, and the work she does. But Sara might want to think before she quotes Scripture to a reporter from the Wall Street Journal. This is from the prophet Isaiah, a prophecy of the coming Christ, as I understand it. Not the coming Republican youth!

More on Death of the Church

My post of yesterday regarding the decline of once healthy congregations has been rolling around in my mind. I did sound like a bit of a downer, but this is a topic I care about greatly. Christ came into the world to change it forever, one person at a time, and this still happens today. Last November I had the opportunity to serve as a counselor in the Billy Graham Crusade in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. I stood with people from all walks of life, eager to recommitt or give their lives to Christ for the first time. Lives changed, faith renewed, hope restored, all by the Living Christ.

I used to attend a church where the pastor would announce nearly every Sunday morning at the beginning of the service....."The Living Christ is here!" And He is, indeed. I see evidence of it every day. But, around us, the organized church may be struggling for its future. Suffice it to say that the denomination I belong to, the Presbyterian church, has experienced massive membership loss over the past 25 years or so.

Why is this so? In my mind, one word - irrelevance. In short, the modern church has become irrelevant to the modern man and woman. Secondly, our affluence in American has blinded us to the lack of real meaning in our own lives. And yet, a carpenter from Nazareth still changes lives. How do we reconcile the two? Here is a starting point.

My Friend Pastor Tod

Want to read a painfully hip blog that tackles interesting and tough issues in church leadership and culture? Visit "It Takes a Church" - the website of Tod Bolsinger, my friend of so many years that neither of us cares to discuss it in detail. Tod is the pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church, a husband, father, average surfer (required for the pastorate), and really pathetic golfer. Tod gave me a nice salute today on his blog.

I will disclose grizzly details of Tod's bachelor life, for donations to World Vision Tsunami relief. Tod would be proud of your donation.

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