Traveling back from an assignment in the Rio Grande Valley a few days ago, this writer experienced a somewhat rare event. It was only mid-week and yet down every street there seemed to be yard sale after yard sale, garage sales, cars for sale, wide screen TVs rolled out by the street with for sale signs and on and on. It was a smorgasbord sale of personal possessions.
On one house particular, there was a sub-title to the typical “Yard Sale” sign, that said, ‘Trying to keep the American Dream from becoming an American Night Mare”.
Every American and those desiring to come to this country seek the “American Dream”. Most people seek to become totally self reliant and able to make a better life for themselves and their families than those who came before them through hard work and a desire to prosper.
Recently the American Dream has come under attack and become more difficult to achieve for many. There are many possible reasons for this and much has been discussed by both political parties as to why the dream has become difficult to achieve.
But one fact cannot be denied, the church which once was able to play a vital role in helping people to achieve the great American Dream is becoming less effective.
Churches were once able to become more involved with the communities in which they existed and if a member of the community was in need the church was there helping or ready to help even if the help was not needed.
In America today, however, the church has become less effective because it has been more restricted by the very nation and government it helped to build and shape.
The church itself is facing difficulty in attempting to achieve its own dream. This writer wrote on this subject in some detail on the decline of the church on the blog, One Outlaw’s Opinion.
The bottom line is the church is under attack from many directions: politically, legislatively, financially and even spiritually. As a result there are less people attending, tithing and involving themselves in the ongoing advancement of the church through Bible study, fellowship and evangelism.
In a recent casual conversation with a local Rio Grande Valley pastor, this writer was told a story of how his church had planned a huge fellowship dinner which preceded a Bible study. The important word here is, preceded. People could have come enjoyed a meal, fellowshipped and then left. But this pastor stated with frustration, surprise and disappointment that although the church had prepared for an anticipated several hundred attendance, they had less than 20 people show up.
The American Dream is still available and happening for sure. There are of course examples everywhere but the visibility of such is getting more difficult to see.
The American Dream of the church is becoming more difficult to achieve also. It used to be, with hard work, dedication and love for God and His people, most churches and their pastors could expect their churches to grow and prosper and be an effective part of the community.
Now however, pastors are resigning faster than ever and churches are either closing or merging more than at any time in this country’s history and do so just to survive.
The church is an important part of the American Dream becoming a reality in people’s lives. For those of us that cherish and love the church, we need to support it more than ever with praying, attending, tithing and inviting people to worship with us. In doing so, we help the church to achieve the American Dream and accomplish its Biblical responsibility while helping others to achieve their own American Dream.
May God bless us all as we attempt to achieve the real American Dream where God is included and not excluded.