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EMMANUEL (HALLOWED MANGER GROUND) BY CHRIS TOMLIN
The tables have turned. We now live in a world where Christians (at least occasionally…be honest! ; ) look for reasons to avoid going to church. And where those who believe there is no God look for reasons to start churches.
Popping up in cites around the U.S. and U.K.: Atheist Churches. They’re structured perhaps a lot like your own church services. Singing. Teaching. Offerings.
Phil Zuckerman, a fan of this new movement, says “We are charitable, we are good people, we're good parents and we are just as good citizens as you and we're going to start a church to prove it.” There’s a mantra at many of these gatherings: Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More.
For a defensive, insecure moment, I wondered, “What if they succeed? What if they help more people than the body of Christ helps? What would that say about my faith, about MY God?” (Speaking for myself, I don’t do nearly enough. Neither does the Body, collectively.)
Then I remembered what Paul told Christians: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” In today’s context, why not let this new atheist church movement motivate us to spread as much love and charity as we possibly can? More than we ever have??
And if you’re willing to think a little crazy with me for a minute: What if God’s plan is to use the very people who deny His existence to bring about His perfect will? The book of Genesis ends with Joseph saying to the brothers sold him into slavery and tried murdering him: “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.” It’s not a stretch to imagine God doing the exact same thing in 2014.