We had a first-of-the-month prayer service at church over the noon hour. As we were in a reflective point in the service, I was looking at the stained-glass windows that look out upon Eastman Road, the main north-south drag in Midland. Or, would look out had the windows been normal; all you got to see were silhouettes of cars and trucks driving past the church.
Looking in from the outside, folks would get a comparable view or lack thereof. The church looks hazy and shadowy from the outside.
The news doesn't help much. Where we make news is either for political interaction on some sexual issue, where (to borrow from an old Moral Majority put-down) the church becomes the meek that inhibit the earth, or for some moral failing, where the pastor gets caught taking a teenage girl across state lines or worse. No reference to what the Gospel is, who Jesus is and why He's important, just a bunch of nosy, repressed folks who are a bunch of hypocrites given all the pulpit-pounding pedophiles and perverts that do make the news.
We do get some good press from time to time, but not much. Missions that have a poverty-fighting element do get good press; liberals like Nick Kristof will give credit where credit is do for those good works, but even there, the reason for the largess is still largely under wraps.
That vision comes interesting into play with yesterday's sermon, where this passage from Judges 2 was mentioned
10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.
That wouldn't be a bad descriptor of the modern-day US (and the rest of the Anglosphere as well, if not even more so); people might serve their balls rather than the Baals, but (if we put it in a New Testament setting) they don't know Jesus and what He had done for mankind.
We need to remedy that where possible, letting them know what they're missing and what they don't know about God. That isn't going to happen if the only exposure folks have is what they see in the news or the shadows of people in the pews on a Sunday morning as they head out Eastman Road to the mall quadrant.