The Wall Street Journal released an article today on the “most godless city in America,” and we got it. The Portland Metro area, over 2.3 million strong, which includes the county that LifePoint Church calls home, is at the top of the list. North of 42% of our area claims “no religious affiliation” whatsoever. Seattle and San Francisco tied for second, but it really wasn’t close, as Portland Metro outpaced both cities by nearly 10%.
How should we read news like this?
With our Bibles open.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:9-12
I have witnessed some Christians who receive news like this with disgust. “Uggghhh…why would I want to live in such a godless place? I should move to a place more accepting of my beliefs, affirming of my perspective, and comfortable for my faith.”
I see it wholly different. I can’t think of a place I’d rather live. I can’t imagine a better location for a church called to be the church.
By all means, if our mission is to be comfortable, then let’s retreat. Let’s get out of harm’s way. Let’s build the walls around our homogeneous compound higher than anyone can scale. When we do need to venture into the darkness, let’s keep our fists tight, our brows furrowed, and our scowls affixed.
Let’s just thank God that Jesus didn’t have that mindset.
He left the Father’s side to enter enemy territory and love it to death. When Jesus heals us, He births in His church a heart to do the same.
Come on LifePoint. Be the church. Get about the Father’s business. If He gives you one more day or 10,000- love Jesus well in the most Godless city in America.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:21-24