Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Putting the "C" back in the Y

I have never been a member of the YMCA and have no plans to join (or the YWCA). In my entire life I have only been in one Y and that was when I was a teacher's aid working with severely retarded adults. The atmosphere never seemed to be particularly religious but the staff were always very helpful and kind to our clients. I knew way back then that the Y's were established as a Christian ministry but were now more or less secular gyms. The Y's went the way of the world for a long time and most of them probably still remain secular. Being secular isn't a judgment against the Y's it is just a fact of life; our churches have followed suit, and that is a judgment. But in today's news there is a very encouraging article about the Y's in the US being turned back to their original purpose by Christian Y staffers who see the pressing spiritual needs of many of their clientele.

In Nashville, Tenn., North Carolina, Washingtion, Alabama and Florida there are Y's that have chaplains who minister in the name of Christ to those who come hurting in some fashion. These chaplains also do "weddings, marriage counseling, hospital visits, and Bible studies." And with 20 million members, the Y provides a wonderful opportunity for Christians to proclaim the gospel.

And missing the boat (again) Leonard Sweet says, "People are beginning to rediscover the meaning of salvation. They are awakening to the idea that the body is a part of spiritual life, that you can't separate the mind, the body and the spirit." But anyway...

The church of Jesus Christ needs to follow the lead of the Y and put the "C" back in church. And for those who don't get it, the "C" stands for Christ.