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Joseph Carson (73530.2350@compuserve.com)
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
theory.
>
> 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

Ruth Douglas Miller, Assistant Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-5105. Ph 913-532-4596. Fx 913-532-1188.
internet: rdmiller@eece.ksu.edu
WWW: http://www.eece.ksu.edu/~rdmiller/home.html


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