Thursday, September 1, 2011

Faith matters…

I use a Dell computer when writing these letters, sermons, emails, everything. It’s what I know; it works for me. Friends of mine, however, use Apple computers, and to their minds, I’m a club-wielding, Stone Age Hunter/Gatherer for not having joined them in the iWorld of Apple. With an evangelical furor that would impress Billy Graham, these adherents to the cult of Steve Jobs (God bless him in retirement) wait breathlessly whenever a new Apple product. The iPod- Revolutionary- they swooned! The iPad- Transformational! The iPhone- Iconic, a natural evolutionary extension of the human hand! And here I waste my time on PCs, alas.

A while back, however, I joined my friends in their iObsession, purchasing an iPhone to replace my previous cellular companion. And with some grudging admittance I must say that, yes, the gizmo is quite handy. Not an epoch defining leap forward, but certainly a useful tool. It plays audio books and music; it downloads email and news; its GPS function has frequently saved me from having to stop and ask directions. Maybe you recall the once-ubiquitous iPhone advertising campaign- a person says, “I want to (insert random desire here- like ‘find good local restaurants,’ or ‘play addictive, avian-inspired games’).” And the announcer says, with breezy self-confidence, “Yep. There’s an app for that.” App, of course, being the hip contraction of the word Application.

Indeed, if you’ve ever seen the vast treasure store of possible downloads for the phone, there is- usually- an app for whatever that is. This one tool can perform many a useful feat, most of which have nothing to do with telephone calls.

Well, it seems to me that, if we switch topics from gadgets to faith, modern Christians of our ilk struggle with the exact opposite issue. Ask, “Why does faith matter in your life? What are its…applications?” And you’ll get all sorts of answers. But many are halting and hesitant, or simplistic generalities. Which isn’t to say we don’t believe that faith matters. It’s just we’re cautious about making too broad a set of claims (having cringed at the hubris of less-hesitant members of Christ’s church), or feel uncertain in the ever-changing world of modernity. Our instincts, our spirits tell us that faith matters greatly, and maybe during certain life events that became blessedly obvious. In everyday conversation or living, however, many wonder, “Is there an app for faith…”

This fall, we’ll tackle this topic head on. The sermon series I’ll preach is “There’s an App for That: 10 Ways Faith Matters.” I’ve chosen a set of ten great Biblical stories, most familiar, a couple less so, each of which, I believe, highlight a particular issue or idea that puts faith into practice, that teach us why faith matters today- to us, and to God’s good Creation. Without giving away all the secrets, these applications of faith include, “The App of Serenity,” “The App of Global Community,” “The App of Impossibility.” All together, I think, we’ll see a parade of beliefs and activities that present updated reasons for living faithfully as Jesus’ Disciples. At the very least, I hope it inspires you to articulate your own thoughts about why faith matters to you.

Also, this month we’ll welcome a new addition to our ministry team. United Theological Seminary is sending us an intern- Lynda Lee- who’ll serve with us September 11 through mid-May. Lynda is currently a member of Spirit of Joy Christian Church, proud wife, mother and grandmother, accounting professional, creative devotee of exploring the arts in worship, and a thoughtful, faithful woman pursuing ordination. Many of you remember past interns, having told me good stories about their time at PCCC. As such, I believe we have much to offer Lynda in her ministerial formation. And I know we’ll receive much from her work and worship in our midst. Please make a point of being present that Sunday to welcome Lynda; tell her why this church matters to you, the difference it’s made in people’s lives already, and especially how you hope it will grow in its impact and mission. For, indeed, faith matters! There’s many an app for God’s love.

Grace and Peace,

No comments:

Post a Comment