what's your religious grade??

i got an 88/100. if you click on the title above or this link, it will take you to an article in usatoday that talks about how americans get an "F" in religion. on the left side of the article there is a test you can take to see where you'd score.

now compared to the rest of the US population scoring an 88 i guess is pretty good. but it got me to thinking about how much i DON'T know about other religions. which really started to get me thinking . . . how in the world would i know how to reach, understand, much less minister to people of other faiths if i don't even know what they believe or where they're coming from.

i've also been recently challenged by a message from wes davis. he's the lead pastor at newlife kitsap church. he spoke recently at a workshop at the Northwest Ministry Network annual conference. you can download the individual message here or subscribe to the Northwest Ministry Network podcast via iTunes with these and more excellent messages.

to give you the "gist" of it - wes speaks on the challenge that the longer people are Christians the more they begin to live in a bubble; isolated from the very people they once were and are "trying to reach". it's not necessarily that these people are self centered or snobby. but it's just a natural progression of events. if you started out and didn't know Christ and had all "non-Christian"* friends and then became saved and got involved in church. invited your "non-Christian" friends. and then they became Christians and you made new friends in your church. then all the people in your "circle of influence" are all Christians.

so then you i have gotten to the point where it's hard for me to name 5 "non-Chrisitian" friends that i actually have a genuine relationship with.

as i once heard it said, "if we are called to be fishers (of men), then at some point we should smell like fish."**

i've stopped smelling like fish a long time ago. in fact i think i may have gotten to the point where i don't even like going near places that do. yes, i work at a middle school and there are hundreds of kids that i know that are in need of Christ, but i'm limited at school by how much i can say. and yes i go to the grocery store and see "mostly" the same checkers/workers, etc; but i don't see them as people i see them as workers (at best acquaintances) but i'm going to make a conscious effort to change that. and it's going to take work though. it's not easy. it's not the "natural" order of life.

leave your score for the test and your level of "fish" odor in the comments below.


// today i'm thankful for:
1. sunny days
2. good news i received today
3. ipods and podcasts
4. missing my family
5. getting to see them soon

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* i don't really like the terms that churches and Christians use to describe those who aren't Christians. i think it tends to lend it self to the "us vs. them" mentality that i'm describing. "non-Christians", "unsaved", "unchurched", even the terms "seekers" isn't quite helpful. and it truth be known "they" may even be offended of being labeled in such terms. the most accurate term i've found is in earl crep's book Off-Road Disciplines "the Sought". because it puts more emphasis on God as the Seeker and the one who in reality is the one drawing "all men unto himself". but i decided to use the term "non-Christians" here because as you can tell it takes quite a while to explain the term "the Sought".

** i understand the distinction of "being in the world but not of the world". so this doesn't mean that i'm going on a sinning rampage in order to better understand sinners. after-all the fisherman doesn't become a fish, but he does end up smelling like them.