Hardship: America’s churches may not be experiencing economic hardship. Indeed, most of them seem to be doing just fine, and the mega-churches, of course, are utterly flush with funds. But what about our social, moral, and cultural impact? Not only are we failing to prosper in this area, but, as some believers have it, life’s getting downright tough here in the good old U.S.A. Some American Christians are even beginning to use the language of persecution, incredible as that may seem, to describe the situation of evangelical churches. Not only are we failing to have an impact in our culture and society in profound and lasting ways, but we feel like everybody hates us—especially the media—and wishes we would just shut up. Is this shriveling of our social and cultural impact yet another warning shot from the Lord?

Overthrow of the mighty: The downfall of Ted Haggard is just the latest in a disturbing series of overthrows of Christian leaders and superstars. These are people we looked up to, trusted, and admired, people who were models for a rising generation of preachers and church leaders. Their moral failures and shameful exposés have become almost commonplace. It no longer surprises us when someone “outs” yet another evangelical superstar or Catholic priest as an adulterer, con-man, pedophile, or just a jerk. What is the Lord trying to say to us?

Is Anybody Listening?
The shift in the American political mood—which is only just beginning—would seem to be yet another call for the Church to take stock and consider what the Lord may be trying to say to us through these confusing and even troubling circumstances. God may well be firing warning shot after warning shot across our bows. But if nobody’s listening, it won’t make one bit of difference.

For Reflection?
Do you have any sense of God’s warning you about your relationship with Him? How might you expect Him to do that? How will you respond?

T. M. Moore is dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of seventeen books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics, (Waxed Tablet). He and his wife and editor, Susie, make their home in Concord, Tenn.

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