Oh Lord, won't you buy me...

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(Tim) What's the connection between denominations, denominationally-affiliated Christian liberal arts colleges, a denomination's church planting demographics, and Mammon?

When Mary Lee and I were first married, we joined a church newly
planted by the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in Madison, Wisconsin. Soon after arriving there, I
saw a denominational flier thumb tacked to the church bulletin board
that explained the denomination's church planting demographic vision. It said
something like, "We have done studies of our denomination's
constituency and find that RCA church plants do best in upper middle
class, highly educated neighborhoods and communities."

Our small congregation of 75 or so was filled with souls who fit the RCA church-planting mold much better than Mary Lee and I. Three who stand out were Del Smith, Senior Telecommunications Counsel at Jones Day; the philosopher Keith Yandell; and the historian of science, David Lindberg. Of course, our church building was on Madison's far west side and included several who lived in Shorewood Hills.

Do you ever find yourself wondering if what Jesus said is still true today--that those who would follow Him must deny ourselves and take up our crosses?

Years ago I saw a cartoon that pictured...

a man sitting at a bar with a drink in his hand, announcing to the
bartender: "I had a happy birth, a happy childhood, a happy
adolescence; I married happily; I'm having a happy middle age; and I'm
looking forward to a happy old age and a happy death." It could be written by any of our denominations' church planting agencies or college presidents, couldn't it?

These thoughts after running across this press release issued yesterday by Christian liberal arts Houghton College upon the occasion of the celebration of their 125th anniversary:

HOUGHTON, N.Y. —Houghton College welcomed back
thousands of alumni, friends and parents this weekend to commemorate
125 years of “Celebrating the Journey… Transforming the World.” 

Festivities began on Thursday with the naming of the Campus
Center Lounge in honor of Robert Van Dyk, class of 1975. Van Dyk has
been a supporter of campus projects that directly impact the student
body including the fitness center and Java 101. 

A ceremony was held on Friday morning celebrating the opening of
Houghton’s new Business Investment Center. Equipped with a
24-foot-long stock ticker streaming the latest quotes, LCD screens
showing market commentators and their predictions, and four
dual-screen trader stations presenting market research results the
Investment Center serves as trading room, a classroom and a study
area for Houghton business students. 

The Founder’s Day Convocation included multi media presentations
highlighting the past 125 years of Houghton’s rich history. During
the convocation Wilson and Eleanor Greatbatch were awarded the
Houghton Medal and Paul Young, Houghton College professor of
psychology, was recognized as Alumnus of the Year.   

On Friday afternoon 39 alumni participated in panel discussions
reflecting on their professional journeys. Areas of discussion
included creation care, medicine, law, business, communication and
cultures, service and justice, ministry, research and development
and education.

In the evening the Ortlip Art Gallery celebrated the works of
Houghton College Art Alumni in a reception for the exhibit,
“Celebrating the Visual Arts." Following the art reception James
Barcus, class of 1959, presented a lecture. The evening concluded
with a celebration and fireworks on the Quad.

Saturday highlights included the grand parade, alumni house
renovation kick-off and a festival on the Quad, which included a
Ferris wheel, games and rides. The College Choir, comprised of
alumni and current students, presented a concert on Saturday night,
followed by a birthday cake celebration and Spot.   

125th celebration activities concluded on Sunday with a joint
worship service at Wesley Chapel.

"Transforming the world" through panel discussions of "creation
care," exhibits "celebrating the visual arts," and twenty-four foot
wide stock tickers? It could as easily be Gordon, Wesmont, Wheaton, or Covenant, couldn't it?

Sadly, this press release communicates all too well the vision of our denominational church planting agencies and liberal arts colleges.

As Pink Floyd put it, "Money, it's a hit; don't give me that do goody good..."