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American Churches At Christmas: Full, Partial, or Empty

Updated on December 25, 2016

Church Going

"High Season Christian"

Dressed and there two times a year.

Are you one of those?

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Practicing For The Real Game Of Life?

If what I am about to write, and you are about to read, stirs the pot a little, I may have achieved my goal in writing.

I know some Christians whose "practice" of their religion boils down to getting dressed up and attending their denomination's church services at Christmas and at Easter. For some of them that is the beginning and end of their annual religious "practice."

I know others who equally seldom attend any formal church service, but who "practice" their belief and faith in Jesus Christ in their daily walk with Him every day.

I know others whose Christian "practice" is, as one has described, "shooting their arrows, and then drawing their target where the arrows hit." This latter group---and there are many---pick and choose from God's commandments and "practice" only those commandments that allow for the lifestyle they have chosen.

I personally believe that a loving Heavenly Father gave each of His children something called "Free Agency" or the right in mortality to make their own choices of obedience to His commandments or disobedience. It is not a stretch to call such choices "my will" or "His will."

Does simply going to church "make" someone into a Christian? Certainly no more than sitting in a garage makes someone into a car.

It strikes me as peculiar that many people seem to choose their own "form of religion" in the same way that an unskilled archer might draw their target wherever their arrows landed and then point to how successful they are, some even believing that they have mastered that skill.

I am glad that so many who claim to be Christians go to some church service during the Christmas and Easter seasons.

I have no question that there are those who do so with sincere hearts, real intent, and personal reverence for such occasions.

I admire the customer at the local post office who buys a year's worth of the "Forever" Christmas stamps annually so that every mailing is a reminder of that customer's faith in Christ and their hope for His return.

I admire the person who finds a penny and then ponders on how they are doing in trusting God in their life and in the lives of friends and loved ones.

But I suspect there are many who know of Christ but are not converted to a Christian life in the sense of honoring what Christ called the two great commandments, namely to love God the Father, and love their neighbor as much as they love themselves.

I suspect that a Christianity that does not involve service to others at the expense and sacrifice of oneself, is not Christianity as Christ taught and exemplified it.

Just as with archery, in which expertise requires constant practice and mastery of the skills of archery, so also I think Christianity requires constant practice and an effort to master the skills of Christianity.

Whether someone who knows of Christ gathers together with one or more other believers on a regular or irregular basis is a matter of "Free Agency". What their intent in doing so, or not doing so, is something that they know and God knows.

As for me? I am "practicing" with the intent to master the difficult path of discipleship in the belief and understanding that "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23) For "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. .Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." (John 15:12-15)

Christ set the example of personal prayer and "practice". He created a church of discipleship and doing. He made promises that remain contingent on keeping God's commandments, and I know that one of those promises is the eternal joy of His friendship.

For any "practicing" Christian there can be no greater promise than His friendship and life eternal abiding with Christ in the presence of God.

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    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A very interesting hub Demas. It is interesting to me that in fact this may "stir it up" in some. 2Tim 1:5-8 Although my hope is that it does.

      Perhaps we should all go through seasons in our mode of practicing faith. I generally prefer to go to church, but sometimes if I go all I will hear are hypocrisy and so do not go. If I pray, read and meditate consistently I feel assured that it is God who puts the feelings in my heart.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 3 months ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Well said Demas. Like Eric stated, I endeavor to build my relationship with God daily, in any and every moment. Not that I am as successful at that as I would like. But I stopped going to the church I was attending because of the childish "Croupy " attitude I began finding there. It is sad that there are so many "Churches" that focus on groups, and nice meals together with other church members, but fail horribly at actually doing anything in the community. They have no (Or little) connection with the good Samaritan lessons.

    • Perspycacious profile image
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      Demas W Jasper 3 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Ericdierker - Select "Bible On One Page" http://www.jrsbible.info/Bible-KJV.htm as a Favorite and you can quickly post your biblical references like this for 2 Tim 1 5-8:

      5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

      6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

      7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

      8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 3 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I do believe that we should practice our religion on what might be called a "full time basis." Most of us fall somewhat short of that, my self included. The important thing is to keep on trying.

    • Perspycacious profile image
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      Demas W Jasper 3 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Curiad - Isn't it interesting that in a parable and in an actual trip observed by the disciples, Christ related to the "despised" Samaritans of the period to teach so many lessons about godly behavior? (Such as who is our neighbor; who is Messias, and who knows all the things we ever did...as with the Samaritan woman's life and later on with Thomas' privately expressed doubts?)

    • kbdressman profile image

      kbdressman 3 months ago from Harlem, New York

      If only every one saw Sunday as the Holy day (Holy day....Holi day....Holiday) it is and attended church on the weekly holiday like they do on the annual holidays!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Demas, I do not get your instructions. Are we all supposed to do it the same way?

    • Perspycacious profile image
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      Demas W Jasper 3 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      dahoglund - The old saying previous generations of parents taught their children: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." That is practice, isn't it.

    • Perspycacious profile image
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      Demas W Jasper 3 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      kbdressman - You are right that the Sabbath was meant to be a holy, holiday. Free Agency allows for choices and not everyone, unless forced, would not choose to celebrate it, or observe it, or Etc.

    • Perspycacious profile image
      Author

      Demas W Jasper 3 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Ericdierker - If you use the provided link, you can mark it as a "Favorite" you can come back to any time you choose. Then you can go directly to Chapter and verses from the King Jame Version (and other translations are also available with other links) highlight the Chapter and verses you want to refer to, copy them, and paste them where you want them. It was just a suggestion I thought you might find attractive to your needs.

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