Python and Millenials

So I have been teaching myself the programming language of Python for some time now. I'm still very much a beginner.  The other night as I slept I had this image in my head.  If you took all the sources of information in your average day, and named them, you would have probably around 14 possibilities:

TV/movies, music, news, friends, parents, extended family, books, radio/podcasts, webpages you read, facebook(social media), teachers, coworkers, and the rules of your groups/organizations.

So I imagined this up.

So many sources of information.  I wondered how much time I spent letting each source of information speak into my life each day.  How much of my story did I allow them to become?

Then I imagined a line... a line of TRUTH.  I mean, it really doesn't matter what you think about truth.  You either believe there is absolute truth or not, but for this exercise it didn't matter what you believed there, because inevitably you decide which of those items spoke more truth to you.  So... I imagined this:

I decided which items were more lies than truth in my life.

But then I wondered,... how much time in each day do I let the lies in?   Now... Facebook isn't all lies, and not all books are truth.  So that made things more difficult.

Which is where my program idea came in.

So I wrote a program, and I got the help of my son to do the math on it... that basically asked 28 questions.

Question 1:

On a scale of 1-5 (5 being very frequent) how much time in an average day do you spend enjoying_____(music/facebook/etc) :?

Question 2:

Rate (this item : Facebook/Books/music, etc)  on the following scale:

-1           -2       -3       0       +1       +2             +3 

full of lies    neither lying nor truthful      full of truth

And once you answered those questions, the program would tell you exactly how many lies you were allowing into your head each day, and what percentage of truth you were engaging with each day.

At the same time, I began watching a video explaining the difference in culture between Millenials and Gen X (me).

When we got to the point of the idea that there is no absolute truth, that your experience is what dictates decisions... I thought about that.

See.... it's really not that far from what Gen X believes, though our generation likes to pretend we're very very different.  The truth is, if you're a Gen X'er, and you believe in absolute truth, and your personal experience contradicts that absolute truth, you're perfectly okay believing contradictory things.  It's a hallmark of our generation.  So... in that respect our experience does in fact have a lot of weight.

Regardless, I realized asking the question 'how much truth do you feel Facebook has to offer you?' while allowing you to respond with whatever your views on the relativitity of truth is... and therefore allow for multiple cultural perspectives... maybe much harder for a millenial to answer.

Why oh WHY did I have to get education in the middle of writing  this program?

I mean, wouldn't you answer 'DEPENDS?'  to that question?  But then answer it yourself based on what it depended on?

The bottom line is... I wanted to create a visual representation to make people aware of this.

1 - The Devil seeks to kill you, steal from you and destroy you.

2 - His chief tactics involve lieing to you so completely you begin to think it is true.

3 - You can most easily detect a lie when you spend a lot of time in the truth.

4 - Therefore you should determine what your sources of truth are, and enhance your time with those, while decreasing your time surrounded by lies.

For me, my profound source of truth is reading the Bible. But not just reading it.  Reading it, understanding it, thinking about it all day, and applying what I read that day to at least 1 moment of my day... making it real, applying it.  Not just theory but doing it.  That is the most profound source of truth.

Other sources of truth are good, wise, godly people, who speak truth to me in love and hold me accountable. (this includes friends, co-workers, family, teachers, etc).

But I don't blindly trust all books, nor do I blindly trust all people.  Only people who all agree on the basics.

So what are the basics?

Well, the last few books of the Bible really boils it down for us.  1,2,3 John and Jude ALL warn us heavily against false teachings.  HRM... why do you think that was some of the final words in the Bible?  Maybe because God knew that we'd be surrounded by lies everywhere we turn?

LIES EVERYWHERE!  Layers of lies upon lies such that if you see through the first layer, you may still believe the lie of the second layer, because the enemy has been building this onion of lies for so long it's so hard to see truth.   It's exhausting to fight constantly, but we have to.  Because he is.

The Basics:

-anyone who does not profess that Jesus Christ is the son of God is a false teacher.

The current rule of our culture is:

-tolerance always unless you come across someone intolerant, and then you do not need to tolerate them.

It's a very similar rule to what Peter and John taught us with a few changes:

-love everyone, but do not allow false teachers to be among you, cast them out of your churches and homes.

I tend to feel love is better than tolerance.  I'd rather you give me a hug than cast me a glance that said 'I can tolerate you.'

Well now I'm blabbering.

The point is....

We need to diminish the lies we allow into our lives... and enhance the amount of truth.. Change your personal formula.



So I just read a scary statistic.  The Bay Area is considered 97% unchurched.  That means that people are not affiliated with, nor consider themselves to be a part of, a church.  Some are saying it is the largest unchurched area in the U.S.

So I decided to look up why a place becomes 'unchurched'.  In missions the terms 'unreached vs unchurched' come up a lot.  But I've always considered the Bay Area either 'churched' or 'post churched' in that, they've been given the opportunities, and have just passed them up.

Then I read this, and it really has me thinking, because so many of the points seem to be very true to me.  And if true, that makes the Silicon Valley, a mission field, and our next stop.

I am often amused when I hear myself identified as an expert in any area. If I am a perceived expert, it is because I have had the wonderful opportunity to listen to thousands of people over the past few decades. They are the experts; I am little more than an interested reporter.

Though much of this information could be regarded as dismal, my ultimate assessment is not that pessimistic. I believe in the God of miracles. If my conclusions focused on human ability and goodness, I would have little hope. But my conclusions presume the God of creation is on His throne.

For now, let us focus on what is wrong. Let us look with stark honesty and candor at the ineffectiveness of most American believers when it comes to sharing their faith. And let us look at reversing the trend through God's power.

1. Spiritual Lethargy - One of the main reasons many Christians do not share their faith is simply explained by the word disobedience. Spiritual lethargy takes place when we fail to obey Him. The problem for many Christians is that they are not growing spiritually, and lack of spiritual growth inevitably leads to a diminished desire to share Christ with others.

2. Growing Inclusivism - One of the faster-growing belief systems today is pluralism (all religions lead to God). A variation of pluralism called inclusivism is a dangerous doctrine that is gaining momentum in many American seminaries, Christian colleges, and churches. This view affirms that Jesus is the only way of salvation, but he can be found in other "good" religions. There is a subtle but growing belief among many Christians that somehow "good" followers will make it to heaven outside of a true Christian conversion. Our message will fall on deaf ears if this belief persists and grows.

3. Growing Disbelief in Hell - At one time, this was a view held almost entirely by unbelievers. However recent books by those claiming to be evangelicals have brought this discussion front and center. Those who truly have a desire to reach the unchurched have a burden to see people in the eternity of heaven, but they also desire to see them escape the wrath of an eternal hell. Denying the existence of hell undermines the urgency of placing one's faith in Christ.

4. Busyness - Perhaps one of Satan's most effective strategies is to get us so busy that we fail to do that which is such a high biblical priority. We can be deluded into complacency about the lostness of humanity around us. The unchurched are waiting for you to tell them about Jesus. They need to be on your to-do list. What priority do you give to reaching the lost?

5. Fear of Rejection - In research on this subject, I found that only one in four unchurched persons we be resistant to faith discussions. But nearly four out of ten of the unchurched will be receptive to your concern for their eternity, and more than one out three will simply be neutral to your attempts. Simply stated, fear of rejection is unfounded. The few with an antagonistic attitude are not rejecting your personally; their anger is merely a reflection of something in their past. Fear of rejection is an often-used excuse by Christians for their failure to witness. And it is just that: an excuse.

6. A Desire to Be Tolerant - The message of the gospel, in some senses, is intolerant. The one true God insists there can be no other gods. He is a jealous God and leaves no room for other gods. In the post-modern culture of 21st century America, Christians should know the criticisms of intolerance will come. The great concern is that many Christians are unwilling to take a narrow view because they do not want to be labeled as intolerant. But Jesus never waivered in His insistence that He is the only way to the one and only true God.

7. Losing the Habit of Witnessing - Some Christians have been very active in sharing their faith with the lost and the unchurched. But, for a myriad of reasons, they get out of the habit, and it no longer becomes a priority. Witnessing, like prayer and Bible study, is a discipine. It is a habit to learn, to retain, and, if lost, to regain.

8. Lack of Accountability - Programmatic evangelism in local churches is sometimes denigrated because it is seen as a "canned" approach to witnessing. But one of the strengths of many of these programs is that some inherent system of accountability is built into the program itself. Accountability is likely to engender more witnessing attempts to the unchurched. Attempting more evangelistic encounters creates a habit of witnessing that then increases our zeal for evangelism.

9. Failure to Invite - When is the last time you invited an unchurched person to church? When is the last time you offered to take a person to church, or, at the very least, meet him or her at church? It's a simple gesture, yet so few Christians do it.

10. We Go to Churches That Do Not Reach the Unchurched - We only reach one person for Christ each year for every 85 church members in the United States. That is a frightening and terrible ratio. One of the key reasons we do not reach the unchurched is that most Christians in America are members of churches that do not reach the unchurched.

I've now covered ten of the most common reasons Christians fail to obey the Great Commission. This list is not exhaustive though. In God's power, however, we can reverse this trend and reach the unchurched in America.

Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

the ones that really stand out to me, (Chad) for the Silicon Valley is #4,  #5, and #6.
So if I were a resolution making man, I'd resolve to make sure #4 #5 and #6 were not true of me next year.
I can tell you this, being a support staff for missions means I work with believers a lot of the time. I have really missed the opportunity to talk to people who do not know my Savior about Him.  I'm excited about the fact that I'll have that chance a lot.  I know 'freedom of speech' is limited these days, and that I can't proselytize in the work place, etc.