Joseph Carson (
23 Jul 96 20:10:58 EDT

Joe wrote:
> How often have you heard sermons, read Christian magazines, books, etc that
> commended that Christians be "salt and leaven" in their professions and
> professional societies? Very few and far between. Many of the issues are
> subtle and touch politics, economics, and jobs - issues most ministers would
> rather avoid for their controversial nature. One explained it to me thusly
> - "after everyone has been saved, then we can talk about environment" - that
> let him off the hook, didn't it - kind of like "let them eat cake" to me
> though. (Also, IMHO, close to one of heresies of early Church that physical
> reality was innately evil, that Christ was not God incarnate,
> as human bodies were just too base in essence, etc.)
"Controversial" is probably key here--our pastor, for instance, could
probably give very good sermons relating the issues you mention to
our role as salt, but he's not likely to; the congregation contains a
few with _very_ strong opinions and the resulting divisiveness would
accomplish little. That sort of stuff can and should be debated
thoroughly in home Bible studies and Sunday School calsses--but we
have found attendance drops dramatically at such things when the
topics leave "the study of Galatians" and move to "real-life
application issues"!

> "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?
Hard to think of ASA as threatening, but some do see it that way in
CA, I know. We'd be more visible if we were threatening! Who would
lead--perhaps the question is, why have we no leader to make the
group grow like that? Personality of those attracted to ASA, is my
> 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.
"Never heard of it" is common. Ok, so I provide flyers, sample
journals, gift subscriptions, to erase that excuse, and the next one
I get is "I can't afford it". Seriously! IEEE membership--basic,
runs about $120/yr. We "poor" academic EE's are paid 50K+, live in
$100K houses in a town with an average home price around $80K, and
cant' afford $45/yr? I think it's really, "I don't see the value in
this." And since I _do_ see value in the journal, and the
fellowship, I'm at a loss to know what to do to convince others.

> 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? Together with that, ASA needs to
> determine how it can add-value to it members better - I think a basic
> way would be via ASA SIGs in the professional societies of ASA'ers.
Oh, yes, endorsement could help--but from whom? Chuck Colson got
dragged thru the mud, Templeton is considered too liberal by many,
Bill Bright is too conservative for _me_, Mark Noll is an
unknown--who can you name that is not too conservative and is
well-known enough?
> With respect to Christian faculty not choosing to get involved with your
> group, there are contentious issues, to be sure. I led a class on "creation
> care" at my Church last year. There are undeniable connections between the
> unprecedented doubling of earth's population in past 35 years and the
> stresses on earth's environment - but, no mention of it could be made,
> during the class, to avoid controversy. Between a rock and a hard place,
> aren't we? But God is sovereign, Job was not wrong to ask tough questions
> of God and man's predicament, and I think the established evangelical
> ministry is looking for leadership in the pews (ala civil rights movement)
> to give them space to move forward.
I agree with you, and I think I'm willing to keep at this and look
for solutions to ASA's invisibleness. But it ain't gonna be easy!


Ruth Douglas Miller, Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-5105. Ph 913-532-4596. Fx 913-532-1188.


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