Milestone: 3000

You have done it again!  On July 5, the blog had its 3000th page view!

It only took 26 days to go from 2000 page views to 3000!

I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Please keep reading and commenting and sharing!

You make this blog what it is!

Here’s to the next 1000!

In Christ, 

Rev. Evan

“What Does Your Church Believe?”: Part IV- Baptism

This is the fourth installment of my “What Does Your Church Believe?” series.  So far I have looked at the importance of open communion to DOC theology (post link), the notion of freedom of belief (post link) and the belief in the oneness of the church (post link).  Today we will look at Disciples of Christ’s belief in baptism by immersion.  This does not mean however that if someone has been baptized as a infant that their baptism is invalid.  The Disciples of Christ recognized and affirm all baptisms.

Baptism for many is a seen as an act that symbolizes one’s commitment to the teachings of Christ and by making a physical, public act; they are stepping out in faith to make an outward sign of what a deep spiritual commitment.  In the Disciples of Christ Church our practice is to do this when a person believes that she/he is ready to join God on the journey of faith– there is no specific age requirement.

The Disciples of Christ believe that “Baptism, as a gift of grace, received by faith, expresses its meaning in a variety of images: new birth; a washing with water; a cleansing from sin; a sign of God’s forgiving grace; the power of new life now and the pledge of life in the age to come. The meaning of baptism is grounded in God’s redemptive action in Christ, it incorporates the believer in the community in the body of Christ, and it anticipates life in the coming age when the powers of the old world will be overcome, and the purposes of God will triumph.” (via disciples.org)

The practice of immersion is one that is full of symbolism.  The general belief is threefold.  First, when one enters the waters of Baptism they are coming as they are, ready to receive the cleansing and grace found in God.  Next, when they are immersed they are symbolically dying to their old ways and past sins and when they arise out of the water they are rising with Christ to be God’s servant in the world.

Baptism is a beautiful act that the church does.  It is full of symbolism and faith.  For centuries the faithful of God have traveled to churches, rivers and fonts to enter into the covenant with God and to start their life as a follower of Christ.

Some believe that one must be baptized to be “saved” or inherit the goodness of God.  The Disciples of Christ do not believe that baptism is absolutely necessary, rather an outward sign of an inward reflection.  Many theological and church debates have happened over the concept of baptism. Whether sprinkled as a child or immersed as an adult, all signify the faithfulness of followers of Christ throughout the centuries.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Let’s Stop Lying to Young People

My latest article for the Orange County Record


The Church for decades, maybe centuries, has been caught in a terrible lie.  For some people it is a lie that is has been so engrained as truth, they believe it as such.  This particular lie is one that when confronted or analyzed, many church goers would vehemently deny.  So what is this lie?  Answer- Children and Young People matter to the church.

I know that is a stout claim but is one that is not without merit.  For too long the church has been a place where those in charge or those who assumed the power set the rules, set the order of worship and set the way that a particular congregation is supposed serve and worship God.  Often this is done by people who have been in the church for sometime (generally all or most of their life) and they feel the need to continue on this tradition that they are used to.

Sadly in many congregations around the country the number of young adults and teenagers attending church services are dropping rapidly.  Sure you can blame parents or video games or being over extended with extracurricular activities, but that is a cop-out.  The real answer which may be hard to hear for some is that the church is unwelcoming to them.

If a child was raised in the church they know the stories of Jesus; they know how he touched people’s lives and how Christ came to show the love of God in the world.  They were taught at young age that God had gifted them with special abilities and talents and passions to be used for the work of the Kingdom.  And as children grow into teenagers, teenagers into young adults, the reality becomes more evident.  To be a participating member of most congregations, you have to be at least 45 years old, have been a member most of your life and you have “waited your turn.”  This is the perception of the church- people ‘punching’ their ticket and waiting until they have ‘paid their dues’ to be a full participating, active member of the church.

Young people are not leaving the church because they have objection with the teachings of Christ, rather they are leaving because they have no place in the church.   Sure churches do a great job with their nursery program, Worship and Wonder program and even youth and college programs, but after that the church has not done too well.  The church has bought into the lie that the late Whitney Houston promoted, that the “children are our future.”  This, my friends, is a bold face lie.

Children, middle schoolers, high schoolers, young adults are not the future of the church, they are the “right now.”

This segment of the population needs to know that their ideas, theologies, concerns, worship styles and missional thoughts are valid.  Too often churches try to squeeze all of this into one Sunday generally know as “Youth Sunday.”  On this particular Sunday the youth are able to read scripture, sing praise songs and even preach.  After that one particular Sunday service it is back to the same routine.  Some churches have a “children’s moment” but even then that has turned into a Sunday morning version of ‘Kid’s Say The Darnest Things’ or a well intentioned person is trying to cram too much theology in a simple metaphor.

In some congregations the children are separated from the rest of the congregation to have their own service of worship.  Many children enjoy and learn from this experience but once you hit age of 10 or so, it’s in the sanctuary with your parents.

There is a huge disconnect.

Matthew 19:14 reads, “Allow the children to come to me,” Jesus said. “Don’t forbid them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children. ” (Common English Bible)

For the church to be relevant in society it must meet the needs of those around them.  Churches are losing the young adult population as well as the Baby Boomers, why?  They are tired of waiting to make an impact on the church and the world today.  But for this to happen, people in power and church structures are going to have to change.  It will take time and effort and faith; for the church’s sake I hope we are able to answer that call.

Let’s stop telling the lie.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!


Photo Credit from creationswap.com via http://www.creationswap.com/media/12143

June 2012 Top Post

Thank to you guys, my faithful readers, June was a busy month here at evandolive.com.  In June alone, the site racked up 999 hits! (Sooooo close to 1000)

Once again I am overwhelmed by the number of people visiting.  Thank you for sharing, commenting and reading!

Below are the TOP FIVE posts from June 2012

  1. When Faith is Not Enough
    • This article speaks to the nature of faith in regard to a recent death of a snake handling minister.
  2. Robots, Arrogance and the Gospel
    • My thoughts on recent “robo-calls” from a national televangelist
  3. The Gospel According to Family Feud
    • How theology is being taught in the world, even on game shows
  4. Misconceptions about Christians: The Conclusion
    • My conclusion to my four-part series about common misconceptions about Christians (and its not what you think)
  5. Misconceptions about Christians: Part I
    • The one that started it all

In the month of June there were 15 different countries that visited the site.

Thank you again for supporting me!  Please continue to share, comment and read!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan