Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We all know something's wrong.

There's a gap between young folks who are discovering life and older folks who have already walked a little of that path. The gap is real, of course, because today's discoveries appear on top of yesterday's, and the older context eventually gets left behind.  Things change.

Technology changes rapidly.  Science and business are fast movers as well (there's money involved) along with youth culture and the arts.  The mainstream runners are next; the media, educators, intellectuals, criminals and politicians. Among the last to change even a little, we find institutions like government (and law), and the church.

Institutions are deliberate slow movers.  By definition they are monuments to moments in history and to ways of thinking that had such virtue and nobility when they were new that none were willing to let them go. Institutions exist to solidify and support those unchanging cornerstones of civilization.  At least, that's what we've thought.
There are truths that endure, of course, but old laws and old hymns and old ways cannot speak those truths with clarity today.  
Example:  don't steal.  Thousands of pages of regulation and law on that simple truth, and they weren't enough; Wall Street players knowingly made and sold worthless mortgage securities.  Government couldn't keep up, couldn't change fast enough to do their job. Aha! A relevance gap!?!

So, real church; is it an institution?

As complexity and change accelerate, we have to adapt if we want to participate and contribute.

What occasions of the institutional model are still worth the cost?

There's a huge and fascinating debate underway regarding church relevance. Experimentally, communities are rediscovering what fellowship is about and what living their faith broadly might look like.  It certainly can't be reduced to a one-word issue.  Are there risks?  Many.  Opportunities?  Many more!

Everybody loves change ..., 
    and everybody hates changing.
Such upheavals are probably good, especially in retrospect.  Meanwhile ...
                    "... the place to start ... and stop. 
... Jesus interacted with culture. He spoke the languages of His nation, wore the clothing, worked in a common trade and engaged with people where they were, socially, emotionally and spiritually. He also used references and stories that people of the day understood. 
... He remained untainted ... He lived counter-culturally while inviting others to join Him."  From Focus on the Family's Meredith Whitmore