Reading a book called Breath, which tells the incredible tale of Martha Mason. Martha, a fellow Tarheel, spent over sixty years in an iron lung. She had an incredible spirit, seen in such things as her graduating from Wake Forest or managing her own mother’s health when senility struck Martha’s lifelong caregiver. She went through all this without losing her sense of humor. Commenting on the game show The Price is Right, Martha said the announcer had to have been a former Southern Baptist preacher. Why? His constant “C’mon down!” refrains must have been learned in giving altar calls.
Speaking of books, after a long time of writing and persevering, my friend and fellow congregant Austin Brown has recently published a book called Walking with the Mailman. As I wrote a review on Amazon, I won’t say too much here. But I would encourage you to click the picture to read the review and, while you are at it, purchase the book. It’s a fun and funny read. And just to demonstrate the unity of the body, I also should note that both the picture on the cover and the dog’s leg were contributed by members of the church (of course, I mean by this that the dog is owned by a member, not a member itself).
At a retreat last week where we reflected on the state of theological education in light of cultural changes, I was interested to hear that 60% of churchgoing Americans attend 10% of the churches. In other words, the majority are going to very large churches. The same trend that is seeing large chain retailers push “mom & pop” local stores out of business is putting pressure on small congregations. So what’s a little church to do? Avoid the “little man” syndrome of trying to be like the big guys – you know, trying to compete with their programs, or buying a bigger building, or imitating the famous pulpiteer. Instead, concentrate on what any church should always be doing. Praying, preaching, and providing to the poor in spirit. Though the world’s eyes may not be, the Lord’s eyes are upon such as these. If He sees even the little sparrow fall from the sky, He certainly sees His little flocks of sheep faithfully gathering before Him.