Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Elephant in the room

Have you ever heard of the phrase elephant in the room? It is used when there is an issue is so big that everyone pretends its not there. It’s too big to deal with. Many families have big elephants in their home, abuse, addiction, infidelity, depression, financial ruin, etc...
David Stoop wrote “in the classic metaphor, family secrets are like the elephant in the living room that no one ever talks about. Eventually the elephant grows and takes over the room, spraying its waste on everyone and making it impossible to be in the room. Still, no one ever talks about the elephant.”
Kind of gross but accurately described. We as a nation are also a family and with the election for president drawing close we also have an elephant in the room that we don’t want tot talk about. There are some important issues to talk about, national security, energy prices, the mortgage crisis, immigration, health care etc. but we are missing the elephant in the room.
Imagine the big issues of the day in Germany in 1935 or in then USA in 1850 or in Great Britain in 1938. Looking back we can see their elephant, but can we see our own. So what do I think is our elephant? You might think I would say abortion and yes I agree there is no greater issue facing a people who do not even try to protect their own young. But as I see it the elephant in our country is that we have turned our back on basic Biblical principles and are loosing the ability to tell right from wrong. I don’t know if our family can get on track until we deal with the elephant and have the will to do it.
From my view I think the church family in our country also has an emerging elephant growing in our living room. We spend most of our time in the American church talking about and praying over money, worship styles, staffing issues, missions, evangelism, counseling, building programs, Sunday school or small groups etc… These are valid things but we are for the most part ignoring the big elephant. According to Barna Research, the Mosaic generation (young adults sometimes called Millennial) are least likely to attend church in a typical weekend (33%) versus Baby Busters (my generation also known as Generation X) at 43%, Baby Boomers (49%), and Elders (54%).
So given this current trend we are generation away from some serious trouble. Church doors will be closing and the church will cease to have a relevant voice in the culture. Now god will still be in control, but I think He is calling us to do something here.
Research also shows that most people who are serving God as adults gave their life to him between the ages of 4 and 14. Other statistics bear out that when parents are actively engaged in being the spiritual mentors in the home their kids end up active in their relationship with Christ as adults at much higher rate. Some studies done by Awana suggest over 90%!
So equipping, encouraging challenging and preparing both Christian and community parents (yes all parents are looking for help!) needs to be a primary focus of the church. Having a strategic and cohesive ministry from birth through young adult years also needs to be a high priority. Evangelism efforts geared towards kids ages 4-14 and mission initiatives geared towards the same age group needs to be on the forefront of our agendas. There is so much more I could add, but I hope this gives you some feed for tough on taking care of the elephant.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." George Orwell

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