Stranger in a Strange Church Land | A Pilgrim’s Progress

Eric Carpenter

Eric Carpenter

Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians (Wikipedia).

Many times I feel like a stranger in a strange church land.

As far as the church is concerned, it’s as if I was raised by Martians on Mars but then later dropped off on earth. When I look around me what I largely see seems foreign. I often feel out of place and time. I imagine it’s something like how Moses felt when, after fleeing to Egypt, he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land” (Exodus 2:22).

I live in the Bible Belt of the USA. The biggest evidence of the church I see around me is lots of mostly empty church buildings. Once or twice a week they partly fill with people. Beyond that I see little else that indicates that the church exists here (the not being allowed to purchase alcohol before 12:30 on Sundays doesn’t count as evidence of anything other than silly tradition). This is a largely secular society where most folks are expected at a cultural level to “be in church.” However, my guess is that the vast majority of these don’t know Christ. Many are on a membership role that means less than the paper it is printed on. Continue reading →

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