God’s Grace in the Midst of Decadence

“Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the Lord’s people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death. And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with men.” (1 Samuel 2:22-26, <!–[endif]–> The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.)

1 Samuel 2-4 is shows an amazing contrast.  Like in a movie, the narrative flashes back and forth between the epitome of decadence (Eli’s sons blatant sins of comission and Eli’s own sins of omission) and a child humbly serving and ministering before the Lord.  Here we find every parents hope and every parents nightmare.  The hope is that our children would grow up to lead our world toward justice and righteousness, our nightmare is that they would harden their hearts, towards both and reap the consequences for themselves and others (34000 die as a result of their unfaithfulness).


photo by BrittneyBush

Our nation bears the reputation a “Christian” nation.  Of course the followers of Christ know how far from that we are.  We are at times simply awestruck by the decadence that surround us, even penetrating the church.  But in God’s grace, He is still raising leaders for times such as these.  I wonder how many we will miss though.  For I am convinced that many of our most dynamic leaders are being raised up in the multitudes of bilingual, bicultural second generation immigrants that our current policies often have relegated into the shadows (a generation without a country).

To my friends who fell for the idea that our current president would do better on immigration policy, yo les dije, no pasara.  They’ll take it up…when it’s the right time.  I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting.  Look for the slogan change: ‘No, no podemos!’  But I digress.

My real concern is that we are not doing much better in our churches.  We are missing out on countless future world changers because our outreach methodologies (churches based upon homogenous unit principles) simply DO NOT cut it.  There are few if any churches that truly allow them to keep one foot planted in the english world they are growing up in and one foot planted in the spanish language and culture they also are growing up with.  The spanish language works tend to center around the first generation and often become enclaves that serve to ‘preserve’ the parents culture as much as they are missional to the surrounding community.  Meanwhile, the english congregations often have not adapted their culture to the needs of the community, content rather to plant a mission for them.  There simply are no appropriate ‘boxes’ for them.

When those second generation kids reach adulthood they have to choose between the spanish language church of their parents (and it really belongs to their parents) or find an english congregation that has yet to adapt to their unique culture.  Fallout rate from the church is high for all groups but in this particular demographic, it is compounded by this unfortunate choice we have forced upon them.

We must pursue bilingual (or multi-lingual), multi-ethnic missions and church bodies.  The reason we don’t – ‘we don’t have leaders’.  It’s a circular thing.  We’ve got to do it first, to produce the leaders we need to produce more.  But as I mentioned before – we usually have a lot invested in the status quo.  It is no different in church politics.  It’s time we stop propping up the status quo and start pursuing intentionally multi-ethnic ministries.


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