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Kenton Slaughter

February 26, 2013  12:13am

In fact, a large part of the problem with churches (those that aren't religiously stale and spiritually dead) is that they've tried to be too relevant and "modern", with "Christian" programs and "Christian" activities and "Christian" fun/entertainment, or with secular programs and secular activities and secular fun/entertainment. And both models cease to be relevant, because both seek to give people only what they naturally crave (whether provisions or moral approval or entertainment), while withholding the very thing they need, the very thing they would never seek on their own! And just to be clear, the church that seems stridently religious and yet is lifeless does the same thing (it just takes different forms). What do they lack? The gospel. It's cliché but true. Just read all of Romans 12. What compels us to love and truth is the gospel, and it keeps the church grounded in the physical and spiritual needs of others and therefore eternally relevant.

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Kenton Slaughter

February 25, 2013  11:59pm

What is the "purpose" of the church? That is, I believe, the first relevant question. Is the church's primary purpose the "benefit [eternal or temporal] of it's as-yet non-members", or the eternal benefit of its members? Yes, all physical good needs to be done, but the purpose of the church is for the spiritual benefit of Christ's people. The world's relevance is, "Provide but don't preach". But true relevance is not determined by what changes, but by what remains eternal. What is irrelevant is what the world demands of the church; we serve God. What is relevant is what the world needs. Finally, who are we being made into? "Major improvements on the previous version of ourselves?" We are being made into Christ's image as his pure virgin, as God's children, because Christ died to bring us to God. This is our identity, this is our purpose, and this is the aim of our good to others: to bring them, with us, to God. We implore, through word and deed, "Be reconciled to God!"

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Dr. Norman L. Martin

February 21, 2013  10:09am

Some of the responders to the article seem to have either missed the point of the author of the article or were more interested in the plight of the U.S. Post Office. In my life time (72 yrs.) I remember the mission emphasis was on sending dollars to those doing missions foreign and domestic. I am thankful to God that younger Christians have led to way and more and more local churches are becoming missional. My own downtown church is involved in many "hands own" ministry's with member involvement in our economically depressed area. From food closet to children and adult programs in a trailer park, to sending our members to various places in the U.S. and the world to spread the love of Christ while meeting physical needs. Many churches, unfortunately are like the Post Office, are in a survival mode hanging on to what they have left ignoring their changing neighborhood. They end up spending all their energy protecting the shrinking core. God has better plans for His church.

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Steve Skeete

February 20, 2013  6:48am

Talk about the Church 'dying' can only be about the church as an organisation. The 'organism' that is the universal 'body of Christ' cannot die. The postal service was built on the fact that people wrote letters and sent small parcels and needed a means that was the most cost effective. Modern communication technology has rendered letter-writing almost unnecessary, and several other services deliver more quickly than the Postal service can. The 'organism' that is the Church is not like the postal service. Like air, water and food, the soul-redeeming, life-changing message of the gospel can never be rendered superfluous, neither can anything replace it. The anvil that is the Church, has 'worn out every cultural hammer' and will continue to do so 'even until the end of the age.' Church organisations may from time to time outlive their temporal usefulness. However, those who remain true to historic Christian faith and practice will continue to be agents of change in a changing world.

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Grady Walton

February 19, 2013  5:22pm

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can stop the church. Come on folks, Ms. Simpson clearly was not talking about the demise of the entire Christian church throughout the earth. I just wish I knew why there is a diminishing interest in matters of faith by my fellow Americans. I suspect it is partly because we Americans are a bit too comfortable, or, as the Bible puts it, overfed and unconcerned. Other reasons I hear from people who express no interest in darkening the doorway of a church are the accusations that Christians are mean, judgmental, pushy, and hypocritical. (Excuses, excuses, excuses.)America is a nation of independent minded people, and that is not always conducive to the intimacy of group life found within the church. There is also this: America has been the big dog in the ecosystem of Christianity for many generations. I wonder if God feels it is time for us to pass the baton.

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Jack Ratekin

February 19, 2013  3:30pm

The Postal Service is not a business. Churches are not businesses, (at least they shouldn't be). They both exist to do certain things, none of which are to generate a profit.

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Luis Davila

February 19, 2013  1:08pm

. Really! So... instead of taking heed and instructions from the Bible, take it from the USPS or from whomever. That in itself is an adaptation to the culture and to the world that is well in tune with the state of apostasy, that’s galloping, prevalent and rampant all over. .

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Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  9:21am

The bible we read is made up of letters, delivered long ago by letter carrier,every day in america christians and non christians alike get their mail deliverd, congress also gets mail but it is congress that has done this to the USPS , creating a manfactured crisis by diverting profits, from the USPS in order to destroy the United State Postal workers and the USPS for greed and profit, the life of my spouse is gone due to the actions and often I think of the verse John 12:24 in relation to his death and now the contrived death of the USPS, ironcally the USPO was formed by continental congress members Sam Adams and Benjamine Franklin to promote communication in order to win the revolutionary war, and the USPO predates the forming of Our Nation and the Consittuion, of which there would be no congress if the war had not been won with the help of the USPO. For further understanding the push is to destroy the USPS, and the constitution that uphold the USPS.

Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  9:10am

since the ennactment of the PAEA, more upper managment has been hired, and more Postal craft union members have been slashed from the employment rolls due to non repalcement of attrition or retirment , many have died on the routes, including in chicago nalc 11 , 3 in one week of april 2012. Basically the federal retirement systems are overpaid by 165 billion dollars, from fers and csrs and another 47 billion is set aside for the PAEA escrow fund. so that makes about 212 billion combined for retirment of which the postal service is accused of non keeping of promises of its retirment for its postal workers. Even though the pay as you go retirement system fers and csrs worked well for over 236 years.

Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  9:01am

the robbery of the postal profits continues today, and also can be read about in examiner.com, in the Tim McCown artical called ' behind all the schemes and lies of the privitization of the USPS, then go to the Michigian American Postal Workers Union page to search and find, the truth about the postal crisis or www,mapwu.com/truth_behind_the _postal_crisis. then go to search and find www.savethepostoffice.com to read further on the matter.

Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  8:58am

however the onalught against union continues, and he had one last legal action as steward ( a steward is a union member who sees to grievances, or disputes in the office ) and did a supreme court memorandum grievance on removal of a worker who was injured who had not worked a year, this was illigally denied, then illigally removal of newly trained casual , making him work short handed again after a year of non staffing, he worked for food drive weekend may of 07, and died , thus it took a year from orders of the paea from may 06 to may 07 for him to die. the actions of congress continued, by legislation of profits away from the USPS this can be read about in the following website, www.billburrasjounral.org- misc, search to find, and read and scroll to the part of 'phoney excuses for diverting usps revenues' and then continue to the search for the artical published in apirl of 2012, ALEC/Koch Cabal the privitization of USPS for Ups and FedEx, bob sloan , vltp.net.

Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  8:54am

The orders were from the US labor department which is in charge of health and Safety on the job, basically my postal spouse small office had 2 retirements in march and may of 2006 and one permt injured while falling on the ice hurting the back area, so could not carry the mail and went for injury compensation, so this left my postal spouse legally as only letter carrier for aprox . 22 hours a day of work, daily in the USPS office he worked in, legally under his union contract he could only be worked 12 hours, so it began, he worked for over a year without a regular day off which is also stipulated in the contract, of union with labor ( or the us labor dept and nalc union jcam 2005 , they are signed off every 5 years to renew the contract on laws of work concering USPS workers) so then he did his job and 3 others recieving the same pay with overtime hours, but also fought to get workers in, to be rehired which is the postmaster job and the labor pooms job. After 10 months he got help in

Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  8:50am

the following links are to be researcehd for information on the USPS situtaion, www.AWPU 3800, first area tricounty local, PA, library, stress in the workplace artical copywritten work 2008, by clerk joy goldberg, new lots salem- bronx NY, ' How the ongoiing violation of the USPS guiding principles are creating a toxic work enviorment, " in which the law of the PAEA or Postal Accountibility and Enhancement Act gave pay per performace bonuess to the top 12 in managmeent of the USPS, including PMG Potter at that time, who recieved a 72 thousand a year bonus and increase in wages and benifts and a retirement package of 5 million a year anually. While the action resulted in also of non replacement of retired workers in the USPS, due to overpayment of retirment systems, cutting staff and reducing the workforce generally by the top executives within the USPS, this is known as non repalcement of attrition. So in 2006 march and May my Chrisitan Postal Spouse recieved orders .

Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  8:45am

The increase for the federal retirement systems overpaid or overfunded the retirement systems for Postal Employees by billions of dollars, 15 billion over for fers and 140 billion for csrs. The increase was removed from the Presidents buget in 2002, but new postal legislation ensued, part of it including hiring of more women due to a cover up by congress of abuse of postal women in the usps( see postal abuse to usps worker, reocities.com/povny in search online) also was the fact of overpayment to retirement systems were being brought up to congress by the usps in 2003, the new legislation then was also talked about because the USPS made a huge profits in 2006. Thus a new action ensued politcally of legislation away of the profits, from the USPS to the tune of 5 billion a year, from 2006 until 2016. This made a 3rd retirement system that no other frederal agency has to have or business in america. Basically a way of privitizing or bankrupting the USPS.

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Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  8:40am

Most people do not understand that the US labor dept is in charge of managment of the USPS, therefore they dont understand also there are basically 4 unions in each post office usually, that is the Post Masters Union, which is direclty under the US Labor dept in manamgent capacity, The Letter Carriers union which is known as NALC or National Association of Letter Carriers and the Clerking Union or APWU , American Postal Workers Union and Rural Route Assoication Union. EAch of these Unions work in the Postal Service but usually dont interconnect in the office. So each has their own separate issues. In 2000,2001, Postal employees from the Nalc Union and also APWU And RRA, were made to pay in an extra 15 percent to their retirement systems, known as fers or federal employee retirement system and also CSRS or Civil Service Retirement System. They were forced to pay in extra under the 1997 budget reconcilation act, while most Ameircans were given tax breaks they had an extra tax for 2 years

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Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  8:34am

In 1917 congress was ingnoring working conditions for Postal Workers, and thus collective bargaining was formerd, then in 1970 the congress was again ingnoring the working conditions of Postal workers, whom most were on welfare while working of the USPO, or working 3 jobs to survive, thus the great Postal Strike took place, at the time both my spouse and i were in high school, not paying much attention to postal matters,but the vietname war since he would enlist to serve as a USMC, many felt the war was wrong, latter in vietnam it would shut it borders to all christians, including pastors who were kicked out in the 1990s, so perhaps God had his reasons for the war unknown to us. By 1990 my spouse a chrisitan USMC joined the USPS as a letter carrier/clerk trained in both jobs . Arbitration took place in 1994 of non crossing of craft lines so thus he bacame Letter Carrier only and this was the start of what was oncoming he had to fight to be promoted via his union.

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Val Nostdahl

February 19, 2013  8:29am

ad a born again christian, and now a postal widow for 5 years, I have found it continually a battle for the understanding of the usps situation, and understanding for most is key, you would have to study the links to understand all and mostly the attack if from within the church not without , since many who are chrisitans, have voted against the USPS, and it worker, as in a recent finding of why this has come about , its rooted in history that unions were evil, so thus even from the pulpit it was preached, as in articals that can be found at www.anitpasministries.com on economics and how the rich want high unemployment. My postal spouse was also a devoted believer in christ but then was attacked from within , so basically you can read of the USPostal Office , on amazon.com by search this book or free goggle.books, The Post Office, its past record, it present condition, it potenital relation to the the new world era, Daniel Calhoun Roper, 1913-1917.

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Catherine F

February 18, 2013  10:45pm

The church retains it relevancy through a close relationship with Jesus and by hearing what His Spirit is saying. Only the Lord truly knows what each individual needs, how each church is supposed to function within the community, and where and when He wants His people to be. A church can only lose it relevance if it builds itself with human knowledge and dead works rather than by the supernatural direction of the Lord.

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Amy Simpson

February 18, 2013  10:32pm

Yes, Tim. My point is not simply that the church must adapt, but that we must cling to our true mission and purpose--and we find them in Christ himself. I am not fearful that the universal church--the body of Christ--will ultimately die. Rather, I believe local churches often die because they find their purpose in specific expressions of church--in what they do--rather than in who Christ has called them to be. When the people God has called them to minister among no longer need what they are providing, they will become ineffective unless they are firmly rooted in their real purpose, rather than their methodology. Those who do define themselves by their core purpose can adapt their methodology to meet the needs of the world around them.

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February 18, 2013  3:16pm

Simpson's analogy is found wanting. The steam engine was derailed after roads were built and electricity powered trains. The USPS has been found relevant because people use email and faxes to transact daily business, not to mention legacy benefits. FEDEX is an entity for specialized transactions. The church, on the other hand, does not need to contend with the issue of relevancy for it is eternal. God will ensure that the church shall withstand all acts of nature and mankind. Crucially, the issue of relevance is key to understanding the article. What does it mean to be relevant? Relevancy might be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Since the author has not defined the key term, the article is open to multiple interpretations. In addition, relevancy has ensured that there are differing synods for the Lutheran and Presbyterian church-one in Africa and one is North America. That is, the church might not need to be relevant if such an act compromises material tenants of God.

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John winder

February 18, 2013  2:20pm

The analogy of the church as a business is disturbing and all too often it is an example of how the church has changed. Many churches today measure their success the same way the movie business does, by the number of people in the pews. We have seen the church change to become "relevant", which is wholly unnecessary. The word of God endures forever. The church that has "changed" needs to repent and return to the truth of The Bible, the Word of God and the work of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.

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Susan Gillespie

February 18, 2013  2:18pm

If you want to make the post office a metaphor for the church, you need to consider that the US Postal Service also has an Enemy that's trying to put it out of business. It didn't start running deficits til 2007, the year after Congress passed legislation requiring it to prefund retirement accounts for the next 75 years worth of retirees', within 10 years. Nobody else has to do that. At more than $5billion a year, that sucked up the postal services' profits and ability to make change. Why did that happen? Because FedEx and UPS and others poured lots of money into ALEC and Congresspersons' pockets to pursue a strategy of putting the postal service out of business, so mail delivery could be privatized. Mail delivery still has a role in our country, particularly to our neighbors who don't use electronic means of communication. We could still have a post office, but we need to keep our eyes on the ball, too: the point isn't always to make more money for private enterprise.

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February 18, 2013  1:24pm

The Church -- and churches -- is/are a community, possibly an assembly, but should not be thought of as a place, or worse, a building. The Church -- and its constituent churches -- exists primarily for the eternal benefit of its as-yet non-members. Individual churches often die because they fail to embody these principles. But the Church will not die. But as an individual Jesus-follower, my influence is much more on my local church than on the Church. So I commit myself to assure that the church I affiliate with, join, and support with my time and money is one that cultivates a God-dependent passion for those who are not yet part of it.

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February 18, 2013  10:49am

The "church" as we define it today certainly can die. To use the example from the article. The concept of "mail" hasn't died. It's still alive and well -- UPS, Fedex, email, skype, IM, texting -- all are elements of the concept of "mail". What is on the brink of failure is how one segment of that "mail" industry is failing (ie the Post Office). Our concept of what the "church" is can certainly die -- and will be replaced by some new model of "church". And maybe that's a good thing. God is the only thing/being that is immutable.

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Cheryl Okimoto

February 18, 2013  10:30am

I agree that we need to adapt to changing culture. Culture itself is neither good nor bad. It is merely how a society defines itself. All cultures have good and bad aspects. The trick is being able to define what traits of a culture are godly, what are fleshly and what are morally indifferent. Then we can adapt to those traits that are not of the flesh. That’s the easy part. The other side is that the only way to adapt successfully is to give your "customers" more of what never changes - God! Unfortunately, too many churches have adapted to culture so well, that they've lost their spiritual relevancy. I've sat in services that were very culturally relevant, drawing thousands of people, but when the pastor asked who wanted to receive Jesus, I was wondering how they knew who Jesus was! The message hadn't been about Jesus at all, but only about how their lives could change. They can't come to Jesus if they haven't heard WHO he is. We can relativize ourselves right out of the Kingdom!

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Tim Fall

February 18, 2013  9:12am

"As Christians, we hope the church never makes it on this list." I don't see how it would, Amy. The gates of hell can't withstand the church, so why should anything else be seen as a threat to its existence? The church, being the Bride of Christ, is eternal no matter how many mistakes we make along the way. And as for "change or die", I think what you really got at in the last part of your article is that it is the churches that do not change from the original purpose that survive. Did I get that right? Cheers, Tim (timfall.wordpress.com)

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