Two Perspectives on Inactive Christianity

Part One:

I just bought a new toothbrush. It is an Oral-B Pulsar, the kind with the little battery-powered motor in it that makes the bristles shake around and dig in between my teeth. It's a very strange feeling, but it's a clever idea and is reported to dig out plaque and other nastiness just as well as floss. It may also be a way to legally charge five dollars for a toothbrush.

The new toothbrush has only one shortcoming. It will absolutely not work if I don't use it.

Part Two:

I always thought this line from "The Star-Spangled Banner" sounded trite: "The bombs bursting in air/ Gave proof through the night/ That our flag was still there." Yes, it rhymes. No, it doesn't say anything really about the state of the fighting men inside the fort. They could all be ready to give up, and no one had the energy to take the flag down. Just seeing the thing doesn't really mean anything.

On the other hand, in days before telephone and radio, hauling down a flag was one very sure way to show surrender. If the flag was still flying, it didn't matter how many people were still around to fight or how little energy they had left; the flag showed that something was happening, no matter how bad it looked.

As I've grown, I've moved from looking at inactive Christians, both adults and students, through the first lens, (of the unused toothbrush) to the second. If the flag is still flying; if they're in the pews, no matter how rarely-- if they're mumbling the prayers and perusing the bulletin through the sermon-- then something is still happening. And it is not mine to judge the value of that faith, even if I can't see it. It is my job to encourage and to remember that what God planted, God will harvest.

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