I love books. Browsing through bookstores, particularly Christian bookstores, is one of my great passions. Although it is not a very "spiritual" exercise, I love to scope out the territory of each one, perusing the aisles, like a little kid in search of buried treasure. And often, I go with the intention of seeking and finding the perfect book for whatever topic is on my intellectual radar at the moment. Sometimes, it is a popular book advertised on Christian TV; other times, it might be a Bible study or subject of interest; often, I am drawn to the plethora of self-help books and CDs offered. I am often amazed at the sheer volumes of books written and tapes produced about how we can fix ourselves and "overcome" whatever ails us, by following the "simple" steps of each plan offered. Whether it is finances, marriages, parents, children, in-laws, friendships, relationships, church growth and development or personal triumphs, tragedies, or devotions, the novice onlooker looks to find safety in a "multitude of counselors." For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 24:6. To him or her, the bookstore has become the "holy mountain" replete with caverns of wisdom and reservoirs of knowledge for every church and home situation imaginable. For the casual observer, it is enough to admire the mountain. However, a person who suffers real emotional pain better watch out for the avalanche waiting to cascade violently down its psychological slopes. Unfortunately, all too often, many people in crisis, who are suffering silent personal pain, turn to the local bookstore instead of the local Church; Why? ...Because, all too often, the Church is simply not developing close, person-to-person ministry within its local congregations. Instead, it has conformed to a worldlier model of self-serve, drive-thru discipleship, ...And the consequences are showing. Fifty years ago, people were loyal to their local church. This could be why so many older people stay in lifeless churches. Unfortunately, they are often referred to as "the frozen chosen." They feel like they "owe it to God" to persevere and keep going. They've endured the passage of time. They've seen leaders come and go; they've "earned" their rank, position and status in the army of God. They 'vet watched each others children grow, marry and become parents. Now, there is a lot of talk about controlling churches, and longstanding control freak members within their ranks; to be quite frank, control freaks and manipulative people are a huge problem in the Body of Christ. However, we should not underestimate the positive lesson that they can teach us; ...They were ...And are... Often a tight knit group of people. Yes, with some squabbling, but people stuck together. They "hung in there." The times in which they lived were hard and difficult, ...Reflected in stories of the Great Depression and extreme financial hardship. The local church was, oftentimes, an extended family, where people called upon each other, not because they were pressured out of a sense of duty, but because they wanted to, from a sense of genuine, Christian love and concern. They did not just simply "tolerate" each others presence. They greeted each other, gathered with each other regularly in their homes, broke bread, celebrated family events outside the church walls, and worshiped together within the church walls. In many respects, the older church generation understood the significance of "the Golden rule:" They not only comprehended its intrinsic value, but also lived like they believed in what they were doing. Today, however, things are different. Sure, we talk the same talk, read the same Bible, memorize the verses, gather for services, but the atmosphere of the local church has changed.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.31(d)|
About the Author
Carol Marsh is ordained through the International Ministers Forum located in Dayton, Ohio. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies, and has taught extensively to diverse audiences for over twenty years. She is a seasoned public speaker, writer, and musician, and has actively served on the boards of various church and civic organizations. Having founded a children's museum and a home educator's resource outreach, she is focusing on a new project, One Mile More Ministries. For information contact THE VILLAGE CARPENTER PUBLISHING HOUSE, PO Box 1, Ludlow Falls, Ohio 45339 USA or see TheVillageCarpenter.info