Our government and leaders are failing because they read polls instead of doing what is good, right, and best for us. Now the media is trying to get the Church to read polls and make changes in doctrine and practice on the basis of the results received by a sample survey with a 3% margin of error. Really! I believe that the devil is killing us by polls -- polls that throw in our faces what we thought yesterday, fifteen minutes ago, and what we might think tomorrow.
Once I had a person suggest that we should take a poll to see how people like our worship services. Once I had a guy tell me that before we take the second of three votes on building on to our building, we might take a poll to see what people really think. Once I heard of a Pastor who polled the congregation on what he should preach about on that Sunday -- obviously he had well prepared for that sermon! I have heard calls for polls to decide which hymns should be in the hymnal, how often we might celebrate the Eucharist, and whether or not the Pastor is doing his job to the satisfaction of the folks in the pews. Polls are the devil's instruments!
I recall when AAL did that study of generations. It informed of us of the very things we did not wish to know -- that we a flawed, failed, and sinful people who believe half the time and wrestle with our doubts and fears the other half so that at any given moment we are not sure of anything -- even our own names. I have a copy of that book on my shelf. It is filled with dust. I cannot remember the last time I opened it or if I ever read anything in it. Polls tell us that our faith is fragile, that we have itching ears, that we move the direction of the wind, and that we are fascinated by new and different things (whether real or made up) -- but we could have found all of that out in Scripture for much less than the cost of a first rate pollster and a couple of thousands of computer print offs.
I pray that no one in St. Louis at 1333 S. Kirkwood Road is taking or paying attention to polls. Now I am not a Biblicist. I do not believe that we ought to cast lots in the way that Matthias was chosen Apostle. I am not in favor of governing the Church or the congregation with a group of 12 Apostles. I am not a Luddite and do not eschew the modern conveniences (aka blogging). But.... we do not need a magnifying mirror to see the weakness and failings in our feelings and thoughts. The Church of God deserves something better than the whims of the moment to define who we are and what we are to do in worship or ministry. God save us from the pollster and their wet thumbs stuck up to test every breach of wind, change, or chance. It is precisely this that I think the collect is referring to when it calls upon us to pray:
Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.