91% of Americans believe in God

A recent Newsweek poll reveals some interesting information.
A belief in God and an identification with an organized religion are widespread throughout the country, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. Nine in 10 (91 percent) of American adults say they believe in God and almost as many (87 percent) say they identify with a specific religion. Christians far outnumber members of any other faith in the country, with 82 percent of the poll’s respondents identifying themselves as such.
Read the entire Newsweek article here.

Wow! 91% of Americans believe in God.
87% identify with a specific religion.

That's great!

But I have a question. When was the last time 91%, or even 87%, of the people in your community were at church during weekend services? I bet most communities average numbers much closer to single digit percentages. What have we done wrong in our churches that cause so many people to say they believe in God, yet so few show that belief?

That's worth pondering about. If you have an idea, I'd like to hear it. I'd like to make sure my church isn't making that mistake.


Bolivia has a Navy???

Who knew? One assumes that countries with coastlines have a Navy and landlocked countries do not. Bolivia, being in the later group, usually would not have a Navy. For those who are geographically challenged, here is a map. That purple area in about the middle of South America is Bolivia. Click on the map for a bigger image.

Since Bolivia does not have coastal access, one would naturally assume there is no need for a Navy. In this case it's not that simple. Bolivia used to have access to the sea. In 1879 Chile "acquired" the land that used to be Bolivia's, removing their coastal access.

Bolivia has not given up hope. They maintain their Navy, even though they have no seaport or ocean going ships, as a way to remember. They continue to hope that some day they will have access to the sea, and once again they will need a Navy.

Read more about the Bolivian Navy here

When my wife stumbled across this story, we shared a couple of good chuckles regarding the Bolivian Navy. Ok, we laughed so hard our eyes watered. It's an easy target. The mental pictures the Bolivian Navy paddling around the lakes and rivers pretending to be out on the ocean, waiting for the day they can grow up and be real sailors are too funny.

After the laughter faded, I was thinking about the Bolivian Navy. Their refusal to give up can be looked at two ways. The first is with laughter or even scorn that they wasting their time. Engaged in a futile endeavor. No hope. The second way is that they are persistent. They have a dream, a desire, and they will not let go. There's a fine line between chasing dreams and being crazy. Which is the Bolivian Navy doing? I don't know..... I guess if they some day get their coastal access back, we will praise their persistence. Until then, we'll probably share a few chuckles at their expense.

How does one know when they are chasing a dream? Or when they've actually gone off the deep end and have no chance? Does it matter? Most would scoff if I announced that I was going to chase a dream to be an NBA player. Not much chance of that for an old, white guy who can't jump. How should good friends react to something like that? Let me proceed in my folly? Or help me understand that I don't have a chance? In this ridiculous example the answer may be easier to determine than some other situations. But the question is worth considering. How do we know when we should intervene or not? It's not always easy.

As Christians, how do we know when we should let our friends know that chasing money, fame and fortune in the life is not the best use of their time and effort? Will they believe us? Will they understand? How do we let them know there are better more productive things they can be doing for God? That's not so easy....


Guitar, Guitar, Guitar

I love great guitar players. This is a clip from the 2001 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Do you recognize the players in the video?
It's Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne do "My Guitar Gently Weeps". Prince has a great solo at the end. I'm not a Prince fan, but I'm just about convinced he is one of the better guitar players of our time. George Harrison's son is playing acoustic guitar.


How Would You Introduce Jesus?

This is how Steve Harvey would introduce Jesus. How would you do it?

[ht the wonderful noise]


Crime Enforcement Services

Passed a car on the way home the other day. It was one of those security company cars that they try to make look as much like a cop car as they can. This one had big yellow letters that said “Crime Enforcement Services.” Now what exactly does the fellow driving the Crime Enforcement Services car do? Does he pull into a neighborhood and say “There’s not enough crime here. I’m here to enforce more crime.”? Does he help convince people that are thinking of committing a crime to go ahead and do it?

What a strange name for a security company. They definitely need to hire a better marketing company.

I know that computer people are famous for doing this too. We use words that people understand and know in ways that don’t make sense to non-computer people. We talk about putting something onto the print queue or starting/stopping a service or some other obscure thing. And the users don’t care about a queue or a service. They just want a piece of paper to spit out of the printer with their data on it. I’m sure that people who hire a security guard from Crime Enforcement Services don’t want to hear about Enforcement Service, they want a security guard to protect them.

I think many Christians are guilty of doing the same thing. Certainly Christians have a whole bunch of words that are difficult to understand. In fact, there’s a whole jargon of Christianese that people would need to learn to understand what we are talking about. Why would we want to do that? Do we think it makes us look intelligent? I don’t think it makes us look intelligent.


Help Desk

I work for a big company. We have lots of facilities in lots of states. We have a lot of different types of people working for the company. Everything from people building hardware (assembly work), to machinists, to engineers, to computer scientists, to accountants, to managers, to…. well you get the idea. We have at least one of just about everything.

In a company this large, it’s probably difficult to do some things. One thing that is apparently very difficult, is managing the computers. Some of the people at the company are quite computer proficient, some think they are proficient and are not, and some have no clue. I’m sure that makes the problem harder.

One of the things the company has done is roll out a Help Desk, a single place where you can get help if you need it. Theoretically, it’s a good idea. In practice, it doesn’t work so well. Unless your problem is the ultra-simple, my computer is not plugged into the electrical outlet, the folks at the help usually can’t help and simply refer you to someone else. Furthermore, they email you a message telling you how to get in touch with them. So unless you print out at the email and save it, when your computer doesn’t work, you have no idea how to reach them anyway. Wouldn’t it make more sense to print out a little laminated card and give it to everyone? Nah, that would be too easy.

But here’s the kicker. A little while back they actually sent out an email that listed the email address of who we should contact when we can’t get online! Yes, I said what you think I said. Think about that for second. How can I send email to someone when I can’t get online?!?! If it had been April Fool’s, that would have been great. A classic even. But since it wasn’t, all I could think about was Dilbert. Surely someone must have realized that wasn’t going to work. And these are the people who are supposed to help me with my computer problem. I’m hosed.

I wonder if sometimes Christians do the same thing. People who aren’t believers think about life a different way than believers do. Does that make it difficult for us to communicate? Do Christians think they are saying helpful things, but those ideas simply don’t make sense to the non-believer? Or are we able to relate with them an effective manner?

That’s worth pondering about for a while….


If only....

I guess we can hope and pray this will happen someday.

What do you think it would take to make this a reality?