pecaspers: a Blog in transition

September 11, 2011

9/11 for the Tallassee Tribune

It’s Sunday night, September 11, 2011 as I write. It’s Tuesday or later when you’re reading it. It was Tuesday on September 11 ten years ago. I don’t know what the Tallassee Tribune had in it that day; I wasn’t a Tallassee resident back then. I was a student at Auburn University, and I remember that day in more detail than any other day in my life. It’s safe to say that you probably remember that day with graphic clarity as well. My facebook feed attests to this as it is currently populated by memories, pledges to never forget, and references to that day which changed this nation forever in many ways. Back then, there was no facebook, no Twitter, and texting hadn’t truly gone mainstream. In 2001, most of us still got our up-to-the-minute news from old-fashioned T.V. and radio.

Among the teens I know, they don’t remember much. They were in second grade or younger, but even they knew something big was happening. Many of my peers’ accounts follow this pattern: I was in class when somebody told us that planes had flown into the World Trade Center. Some classes were canceled, some were held in defiance of the terrorists’ intention to disrupt our lives, but Auburn University gave everybody a free pass to skip class if they chose as I recall. I was in the Auburn University Marching Band then; that was the only class I went to that day. Almost all of us came, but no one seemed to know what to say when we got there. We began practice by playing the national anthem, and then we rehearsed because we had to be ready for pre-game and half-time on Saturday.

Everyone everywhere seemed to be struggling with the dual realities that things were never going to be the same, but things had to get back to normal even if it was a “new normal.” In the wake of 9/11, people flooded into churches. People wanted hope, comfort, to mourn, maybe just to not be alone. Whatever the case, they came. Some were coming back, others for the first time. Some thought 9/11 was going to propel us into an awakening of the gospel across our land. That’s not what happened.

Part of that “new normal” was the same spiritual complacency that we had before. The people who had run to the Church for various reasons, all left for one reason, the same reason that people usually leave the Church. They didn’t know God. They came to a church to meet some need–maybe it was met, maybe it wasn’t–but eventually they stopped coming because nothing held them there. That is a far greater tragedy. People came into our churches and did not hear the life-changing gospel and were not everlastingly introduced to the one true and living God. Equally condemning is that many people have come to our churches for years because some need is being met other than their need for a saving relationship with the Creator.

The reason any Christian church exists is to make disciples of Jesus Christ by baptizing them in His name and teaching them to obey everything He commanded, which includes that they themselves are to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). That is our purpose, and we might as well close our doors if reproducing disciples are not being made no matter whatever lesser good we might be doing. On the 100th anniversary of 9/11, all those people who poured into our churches will be dead. It won’t matter what we did for them if we did not simultaneously introduce them to Christ. A man who turned to the church and found momentary comfort but did not repent and believe will be no better off than one who turned to alcohol.

———-Above Is the First Draft, Below Is the Draft I Submitted———-

It’s Sunday night, September 11, 2011 as I write. It’s Tuesday or later as you read. It was Tuesday on September 11 ten years ago. I don’t know what was in the Tallassee Tribune that day; I wasn’t a Tallassee resident back then. I was a student at Auburn University, and I remember that day in more detail than any other day in my life. You probably remember that day with graphic clarity as well. My facebook feed attests to this; it is currently populated by memories, pledges to never forget, and references to that day which changed this nation forever in so many ways. Back then, there was no facebook, no Twitter, and texting hadn’t truly gone mainstream. In 2001, most of us still got our up-to-the-minute news from old-fashioned T.V. and radio. We stayed fixed on them for days because we didn’t know what else to do.

In the wake of 9/11, churches were flooded. People wanted hope, comfort, to mourn, maybe just to not be alone. Whatever the case, they came. Some were coming back, others for the first time. Many thought 9/11 was going to propel us into an awakening of the gospel across our land. It did not. Part of the “new normal” was the same spiritual complacency from before. The people who’d run to the Church for various reasons all left for one reason, the reason people usually leave the Church. They didn’t know God.

They came to church to meet some need–maybe it was met, maybe it wasn’t–but eventually they stopped coming because nothing held them there. That is a far greater tragedy. People came into our churches and did not hear the life-changing gospel and were not everlastingly introduced to the one true and living God. Equally condemning is that people have come to our churches for years because we meet a need other than their need for a saving relationship with the Creator, and too many of us are OK with that.

The reason any Christian church exists is to make disciples of Jesus Christ by baptizing them in His name and teaching them to obey everything He commanded, which includes that they themselves are to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). That is our purpose, and we might as well close our doors if reproducing disciples are not being made no matter whatever lesser good we might be doing. On the 100th anniversary of 9/11, all those people who poured into our churches will be dead. It won’t matter what we did for them if we did not simultaneously introduce them to Christ. A man who turned to the church and found momentary comfort but did not repent and believe will be in hell with everyone else who did not.

There’s plenty of retrospection going on, and rightly so. But we in the church need to look forward and to look to Christ and His purposes. We sing, “This is my Father’s world, o let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.” ‎Greg Key, a youth pastor friend of mine posted this on his facebook wall: “We are no closer to Jesus now than we were 10 years ago.” I fear he is right. But what will you do about it?

September 8, 2011

So the last time I posted was in March…

Filed under: My Life in General — pecaspers @ 11:37 PM
Tags: , , , ,

It’s been too long. I have shown a terrible lack of discipline in my posting. That’s kind of funny…no, not funny. That’s sad because I’ve been preaching the need for devotion and discipline to my youth for months now. A few people have told me they enjoy my writing (one is a man who reads dozens–if not hundreds–of books a year, so he would know what’s what when it comes to a good read), and this is a talent I need to cultivate if there is a chance that I might impart some blessing to my readers and glorify my God in it.

This blog isn’t the only place I write. I’ve had a couple of articles in the Tallassee Tribune‘s Religion section as a member of the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance. One of these days, I’ll post the original articles here–“original” meaning as they were written before I had to cut them down to 450-ish words. I’ve also done a little more writing on my vampire book. That’s right, it’s going to be a Christian vampire book. Let me disambiguate that: it’s going to be a novel about vampires from a Christian worldview; you cannot have a Christian vampire. Curious how that works? You’ll have to wait and read it when it comes out. Fine. If I can get a solid first chapter, then I’ll post it on here.

The vampire book is an idea that’s been rolling around in my head since the first Twilight movie came out. That’s were I keep far too much of my writing, in my head. I get some pretty great ideas and form some pretty amazing lines of thought/argument/reasoning, but then I get out of the shower, off the toilet, out of the bed, etc., and they’re gone. They come back to mind for more ruminating occasionally, but they get the full fleshing out of either pen or keyboard far too seldom.

And thus we have this post. This is that “I’ve been away for a while but now I’m back” that punctuates the blogs of we who let our blogs go fallow from time to time. My sister’s sister-in-law (which, in fact, does not make her my sister-in-law) has been posting a series of photographs with a little snippet of text on facebook* each day (I’m pretty sure she’s going for one a day) in September. That’s what made me think about hitting my blog again. I thought about waiting to start on October one, but waiting seemed quite self-defeating.

I’m shooting for one post a day. Prepare for some randomness, perhaps some full on stream of consciousness even. Let’s see how it goes.

*[You can put that squiggly, red line there all you want to, spell checker, but I’m not going to capitalize the “f” in facebook. If Zuckerberg wanted it capitalized, he would have capitalized it.]

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