RE: Feedback

Sweitzer, Dennis (SWEITD01@imsusa4.imsint.com)
Tue, 23 Jul 96 08:43:00 EST

Tying into Ruth & Joes comments,

>>"Faith vs. works" and "social gospel" are two possible objections of
pastors, evangelicalists, Christian authors, etc from getting behind the
idea of a 50,000+ member ASA. Then there the issue of power (not to mention
money). Who would lead such an influential organization and would it be
possibly threatening to established ministries?

Consider promise keepers. It came from virtually nowhere and exploded onto
the Christian scene. The reason it took off was because it met a deep need,
one that was explicity or implicity recognized by pastors, evangelists,
authors, etc., namely, "what does it mean to be a Christian man in
society?".

Questions of power, leadership, influence, and threatening established
ministries don't seem to be an issue with PK--I'd say because they are
overshadowed by the question "what does it mean to be a Christian man in
society?".

What need can we meet that would propel us to a 50,000 membership?

Can we formulate it as a simple and comprehendable question? (i.e., what
does it mean to be a Christian xyz abc uvw?).

Well, I'm stumped. I can't get it shorter than a paragraph, or do it
without relying on arcane lingo.

"What does it mean to be a Christian scientist?" -- bad on 2 counts.
First, there is the Christian Scientists. Second, few folks are
scientists.

"What does it mean to be a Christian in a technological world?" -- better,
but not griping.

Whose needs can we meet that would propel us to 50k membership?

It is my experience that ordinary Christians welcome well thought out
scientifically sound Biblical perspectives. It's easy to focus on the third
of churchanity that are willing to embrace bad answers to hard questions,
but it seems to me that there is a healthy skeptism among most.

For instance, I suspect that most Christians do not deeply hold to the idea
that "The Bible teaches a 6,000 yr old earth and secular scientists are
self-deluded". They may subscribe to it because it's the only paper in
town, but they have their doubts. If exposed to a sound alternative (i.e.,
Biblical and scientific), they'd switch.

PK was preceded by it's counterpart(s) in secular society (although with
somewhat of a new age slant). So PK is not an isolated Christian
phenomena--it is ministering to deep hurts in society-at-large.

Do we need to look to society at large, prehaps at the science popularizers,
to see where the needs are, and how secular people are meeting them?

And not to mention all of the people who are outside of the church because
there needs for intellectual integrity were not met within the church. And
the new ager environmentalist types who would respond to a Christ-centered
creation ethic, but have rejected the man-centered ethic so common in
churches.

>>I think ASA could change much of this, if the will is there. But first
ASA would have to be willing to listen to its critics (ie the "silent
majority of potential ASA'ers who don't join.) What objections have you
heard, Ruth? Ones I've heard is that ASA just doesn't add value to it
members, particularly engineers. "Never heard of it" is another (related)
one.

How about impenetrable to the layman? I certainly enjoy "Perspectives", but
you have to admit, it is pretty intellectual--and hard to read.

Do we need a popular version? (Potential titles: "Christianity and Science
Today", "The Scientific Christian", "Discovery & Revelation", ...). (and of
course, how do we pay for it?)

>Then ASA has to decide if it wants to "knock on the door" of the well known
ministries in this country and ask for an endorsement. Don't you think you
might get a better reception if the ASA brochure contained endorsements from
a number of well-known Christians? ...

We certainly would. Frequently, people "subscribe" to their beliefs. They
find a leader (or group of leaders) with whom they resonate, and
believe/follow what he preaches (to varying degrees). An endorsement by a
respected leader gives us credibility and opens the door to our message (but
does not guarentee acceptance).

Anyway, with many questions, and few answers....

Grace and peace,

Dennis Sweitzer