Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Series: How Can The Church Regain Relevance In Today's World (1)

This is the first in a series on this thought.

Religions has been a bastion of control and influence in the world over most of the past thousand years. Between the two main ones, Christianity and Islam, the world is simply divided into two and thus they hold sway over the lives of billions of people from one end to the other. Other smaller religions sit below and subtly hack at what is left so adding to the pressure.

In some climes, some people practice more than one religion at the same time. For instance, in Nigeria where I was bron, many Christians still have what is termed 'traditional' wedding before heading to the Churhch for yet another wedding. The traditional wedding involves oblation, etc - although I must stress that some people now refute some part of that 'traditional' wedding.  There are other such religious events that these people take part in knowingly or unknowingly.

However, while religions had held sway all that time, their grips have losened quite a lot, especially since the end of the second World War (WWII) and the founding of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNHR). This piece of policy was a positive move that suddenly exposed the huge negativities tolerated by the various Holy books or their enforcers; not because these negativities were not known of, but there was not any uniformed established international tool to engrave the alternatives. Since then, many generations had grown up knowing a different body of positive work for fairness apart from the so-called Holy books. The Holy books of course, aren't the problem.

The Church in particular continues to be influential even today. Although the progress made in the last three-quarter of a century away from religions has been significant considering that they have been in charge for over a thousand years. Yet what is starklingly disappointing is that religious authorities has refused to listen and accept correction on how they applied their messages. In fact, the UNHR is not in any way against the Holy books; but authorities who have enjoyed excessive power does not like to lose those powers.

So it becomes that the Church and their fellow other religions lose relevance by each passing day,  faster than it'd have retained it had it co-operated.

Today, the world is largely ignoring the Church and the other religions. Church amd Mosque attendance may be high in some places but the trend is that many more than few decades ago now can challenge or completely ignore these religions. This raises the question, what can they, especially the Church, do to regain relevance in today's world?

As a Jesus follower who goes to Church, I hunger for when the Church would become relevant and take its place in the life of people. Not as an enforcer of faithfulness which it currently tries to do, but as an encourager of faithfulness. I long for a Church that is part of its community, ready to serve, as a messenger not as an overlord.

In a series of thoughts I have twitted this October, I have, through personal experience and working with so many vulnerable people, try to explore in 140 characters on how the Church (in particular) can regain relevance; I will share these and expand more on them in subsequent blogs. Comments and debates are welcome if any wants to. So watch this space...

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