We began with thinking about our culture (here) which entails making difficult decisions (here), and then considering that by not addressing this we contribute to church decline (here). But church leadership also has to deal with difficult congregations (here) who have their own story (here) of trying to live in a secular world and who really struggle to know how to be relevant (here). The problem being, of course, that churches are poor at equipping Christians for living in an ethical wasteland (here).
So what topics do you think our church leaders should be wrestling with, what issues would you like to bring to your leaders and get an intelligent conversation to help you in your thinking - not necessarily an answer, because of course, all decisions are ultimately our own.
Here are a few suggestions of the issues that I, at least, am wrestling with in terms of how to articulate a Christian, biblical, rational, and logical understanding: feel free to suggest your own.
- Syncretism - multi-faith prayer meetings, all roads lead to Rome, all religions lead to God, Christianity does not have exclusive claims, and Jesus is not the only way
- The global economy and the growing divide between the rich and poor - what can I do, should I do, if anything?
- ISIS, Muslims, other faiths, and the inter-faith tensions and judgements.
- Stupidity - how political leaders abdicate their reason as they follow paths of vested interests simply to curry favour with short term interests
- Middle East - unrest, Israel, Palestine, and Christian support for the Jewish nation.
- Nuclear proliferation - one of the top 12 ways the world may end.
- Climate change - personal responsibility and multi-generational consequence
- Fear, loneliness, suicide, and deep inner anger - the global pandemic with a minimal health system
- Drugs and addictions of all kinds - the societal freedom given to experiment
- Gender inequality, rape, and abuse of woman - where does biblical authority sit between a man and a woman, and how does the Christian respond?
- Homelessness, unemployment and poverty - how on earth can a Christian engage with any hope of making a difference?
- Finance and economy the biggest tension in any relationship (after stealing food off your partners plate in a restaurant) - how rich can I be, is it ok to be rich, what is good stewardship, how much "should" I give, what is the right giving motivation?
- Crime and security - how do I live in joy in a culture of crime, what are appropriate steps to stake to ensure security, can I / should I own a gun?
- Justice and corruption - in a society where true leadership is rare, and power hunger drives elections, how does the Christian engage in the work place, and in civil society?
- Divorce, breakups, and relationships - what are the limits to faithfulness, can you love more than one person at a time, how and when is it ok to separate, managing the hurt to self, partner, children, and others
- The internet - the worlds largest trash can or the greatest repository of knowledge, a place of temptations and a fount of wisdom, the loss of privacy and flagrant self-promotion, abuse, trolls, instagram, snapchat, etc.
- Worship and apathy - how the professed faith from the pews is largely absent in the manifestation of worship.
- And many more.
I'll leave the last one as a stand alone bullet because it has so many dimensions:
- Sex - LGBT, recreational hookups, pre-maritial sex, living together, experimental sex, multi-way sex, prostitution, teenage sex, 50 shades of grey, and all the other aspects.