I was watching the news earlier today and they were covering a story about religion and how the fastest growing "denomination" right now is no denomination at all. People are choosing to have no affiliation with a church and are either finding a personal path to spirituality or none at all. And in order to change things or get a larger congregation churches are now spending money on commercials and iTunes gift cards to lure people into church.
I may be missing the whole point but this seems so wrong to me on so many levels. First of all... aren't there other ways you could use that money to pass on your message? Instead of using thousands... or MILLIONS (yes, I said millions) of dollars on advertising for your church why don't you take that money and build a school or a playground or a food bank or provide food or medicine or counseling to the community?? I mean isn't that a more effective way to "advertise"? Isn't that a better way to demonstrate what your church is about? Isn't that a better way to encourage people to join your congregation??
Honestly, I think this is just a prime example of why churches are losing members... they have lost their focus. If people see you care and you're making a positive impact on the world around you and you PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH then they would be inspired and want to help make a change in the world... in turn joining your congregation.
Personally I choose not to follow an organized religion. Although, I have nothing against people who do and I can see the benifits of doing so. But for me I've always felt more comfortable exploring my spirituality on my own and having my own personal relationship with God. I think we're coming to a time where people need to step back and look at their intentions. They need to stop talking about what people SHOULD do and instead do it. They need to stop judging and start loving others.
I always found it so baffling how for so long people have been fighting, killing, and hating for something that they can never prove. How can so much evil or ugliness be created by people who say they love God? I feel everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe but they definitely don't have the right to say... if you don't believe it too you deserve to die or you are going to hell. How do people say that so matter-of-factly!?? Like they are God, like they know what will happen to your soul after you die!? Maybe you are going to hell just for saying that.
Ok ok... I know I'm getting too deep here and I don't have all night to type. I just want everyone to ponder this and maybe take a step back and think twice about what you've been told or what you've been doing.
No matter what you believe you are still human just like the rest of us. And just like you were brought into this world you will one day return from where you came and maybe even have the chance to look back at what you did while you were here. And I hope you can look back and be proud of what you did and how you touched the people around you. To me, that is how you measure your closeness to God... to me, God IS love... unconditional love and the closer you get to that the closer you are to him/her.
Ok now I will step off of my soap box. Thanks for listening. :)