Have you ever had the powerful experience of seeing seemingly disparate newspaper articles suddenly come together in a “connect the dots” manner? This happened to me recently as I was preparing for my daily radio program.
What connection could there be with an article about Muslims in the Pentagon, another about the 100 fastest growing churches in America and another about American business executives bemoaning the fact that more and more of the young people they hire are horribly narcissistic? A close connection, indeed.
Out of the Washington Times is a troubling article about the growing number of Muslims in America’s military and the concessions that are being made for their religious practices. It started with a description of a celebration of Ramadan that was actually held within the walls of the Pentagon. That’s not actually what caught my eye while in my “dot connecting mode.” This is what grabbed me: “the Pew Hispanic Center estimates the U.S. Muslim population in 2007 at 2.35 million people and growing….” (italics mine).
The business story in the Boston Globe titled, “The New Me Generation” has the following subtitle: “The crop of talented recent graduates coming into today’s workforce is widely seen as narcissistic and entitled. And those are their best qualities.” The article quotes several business executives, psychologists and studies, all indicating that today’s young adults may be the most selfish and self-serving generation in American history. The conclusion is that the situation is getting worse with no reasonable expectation of improvement any time soon.
The last article is from Outreach Magazine and features a recent study on America’s 100 largest and fastest growing churches. The story highlights the “megatrends” that are common in all of these churches. As I anxiously looked to see what was causing these churches to grow, I was deeply disappointed to see little mentioned about anything biblical or spiritual. (I’m certainly not saying there isn’t anything biblical or spiritual going on in these churches. I’m simply commenting on the “analysis” offered as to their rapid growth.)
As I studied these articles along with over a dozen others in preparation for the day’s program I found myself seeing these stories profoundly connected. Let me explain.
I am absolutely thrilled that we have so many evangelical churches in America that are growing. I have nothing against the current megachurch trend just so long as these churches are actually biblically-based congregations. Unfortunately, however, all of the attention the megachurch trend receives sometimes gives a false view of what is actually happening, spiritually, in our country.