What's Wrong with Evangelical Christianity, Part 1.
As many of you know, I grew up in the Church of Christ, a very conservative denomination. We don't have musical instruments in worship, women have basically no say in anything, and we are the people that voted for Bush soley because "he's a Christian." Now I don't consider myself a member of the Church of Christ anymore due to many various things, but something happened today that jogged my memory as to one of the first reasons I became dissillusioned with the church. (Now before I go off on this, please realize I do consider myself a Christian, I'm just not comfortable with a lot of the mentalities that are aligned with it).
We used to have this thing called "Leadership Training For Christ," where you would spend half a year or so learing everything you could about a book of the Bible, and then you would go and compete against other kids from around Texas in such things as a trivia bowl, drama, singing, art, and other things. You would get awarded different medals (gold, silver, bronze) for your efforts, but if you really sucked, you got nothing at all. I realized pretty quickly that something was wrong with this. CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A COMPETITION. Just because I drew a pretty picture doesn't make me a better Christian than the guy who submitted one with a stick figure. I'm sure people would say that it's just good to get kids into Christianity, let them learn about it. That's well and fine, I can honestly say that I know a good deal more about straight Biblical things than many of my friends who still go to church, but to turn it into a competition is horribly wrong.
I was reminded of this when I turned on the TV this morning and it was on one of the 4 religous stations that we get (out of 13 possible channels), and they had a quiz show for little kids about Old Testament things (I also think it was from the 80's). There were two teams, and when the final score was announced, the camera fixed on the losing side and you could see the utter disapointment on their faces (talk about conservative guilt..."look at you, you know nothing!") and it got worse when the guy announced the other team got a watch. The little girl, probably around 10 years old, looked like she was going to cry.
If we continue to turn Christianity into a competition for the younger generation, it would do us well to actually sit down and think about what the message of Christianity is. It's most definitely not a ranked list of the saved.