Recently the News Daily ran a fascinating article on 17 skills we're losing with the advent of technology and some of these are pretty obvious: hand writing a letter; conversation; meeting new people, walking, reading a map, understatement, reading a newspaper and many others.
This got me thinking about some of the things that have been long proven Christian essence that appear to me at least, to be slowly but surely lacking in Christian's lives.
Moreover, I for one acknowledge that the fast pace of life in western living is partly the cause for such changes. Everyone in our respective orbits want our attention. Consider Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Emails, Web sites, On-line News ... whatever.
Getting to work is a fast paced activity. Getting the kids off to school becomes a well managed logistics exercise. The washing, the ironing, the drying, the cooking ... all geared to the automatic position, and at break neck speed.
Christians are full members of this western living pace of life – it's what it is - and we function our lives within such experiences.
Together reading the Word
Taking 45 minutes out of anyone's Saturday morning is a big call. But this is what my wife Delma and I have done for the past 8 years when circumstances permit and drive a few minutes to Point Danger or Duraham Beach (Tweed Heads NSW). This is in addition to our own personal devotions.
We put out a rug on the grass overlooking the beach and the Pacific Ocean, open the bible and I read to Delma a chapter. We are currently reading through the Book of Proverbs. We've read through many Old Testament books along with a selection from the New Testament.
This is my number one "Christian essence" that is being neglected. This husband and wife togetherness in God's word – whether that be around the kitchen table, the lounge room, while in bed before sleep, is almost immaterial, it suits us to get away somewhere, what is important is that it becomes part of a Christian's regular schedule.
The Wisdom of the Proverbs
Another thing in my view that is missing today is a concentration on the wisdom of The Proverbs. As a young man, I got hold of the Good News version of The Proverbs put out by The Bible Society and immersed myself in The Proverbs. In easy to read plain English, the wisdom from its pages became my backdrop for Christian action.
Getting a grip
We're enveloped in a western church through the Pentecostal and Liberal wings of the church with "lifestyle" preaching and teaching. What is being missed today is an understanding of the fundamentals of the Christian essence, so when the Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons come to the door and they give their spiel with chapter and verse few actually know how to counter such nonsense. It is not being taught. Rather "lifestyle" is the big thing in churches and there is no substance in that.
My grand parent's generation of committed Christians knew how to explain to anyone who enquired the Christian essence of Salvation., This came home to me recently when visiting a young man who eventually succumb to cancer and as my wife visited him in a couple of different hospitals. I brought him a small booklet, The Gospel of John and apart from some fun stories I told, general chit chat I ensured I presented the Christian essence. I read John chapter 14 verses 6-7 where I gave a clear and precise explanation of the heart of the Gospel of Jesus' Salvation.
Words of songs
In our own local congregation some time back a lady with Epilepsy was sitting next to us and one of the songs repeated the same line in a fast rhythm 8 times, and this happened several times as the song went through its paces. This lady turned to us and said this is affecting my Epilepsy and needed to leave. I felt like leaving too. One might not be excited about the tunes of the old hymns, but their words explain good instructional theology.
Square pegs in round holes
It is my privilege to be the preacher at the annual CoolyRocksOn Church Service in the big tent on Coolangatta boardwalk adjacent to the beach. There were 100,000 visitors to Coolangatta over the June long weekend's festival of rock'n'roll and vintage cars. A Christian rock-band has asked to be involved in the Church Service "rock music" and my instruction to them was not to select songs they knew from their "hip hop" church, but songs that a broad cross section of the nation will know. They understood.
Two sets of prayer
There are prayers Christians say in their private devotions. These are still times. These are prayers given from our hearts where no one disturbs us. But in our fast paced lives, many of the prayers we want to say simply get left off the list, and this is where the second prayer times become essential.
I'm no different from anyone else in this and I have this second string prayer time. Consider when driving the car, when lining up at the bank or the post office, when at the grocery store, on the farm driving the tractor, or at the work place.
I have these secondary prayers when at my office desk considering how to reply to an Email, and what to select as mission news for the monthly newsletter - and a thousand other things.
The Lord's ear is sharp and hears his people.
This article, gives a nominal list, these are simply my cursory selection to demonstrate all of that of the Christian essence.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html