The best looking person in the room is a woman wearing a pink pullover. She must be at least mid to late forties. And shes surfing the net on what looks like a black berry.
She has lines on her face that speak of concern and intelligence and deep thought. But they aren’t bold lines, they aren’t lines born of angry lonesomeness. But more practical dirty love.
I say she’s the most attractive because she stands for something excellent.
In this airport – that I sit in before a giant metal bird takes me the opposite way round the globe to all the other times I’ve ever traveled – sits some of the most different of humans.
There’s what seems to be a mum and daughter playing cards. Both look like they’ve traveled before. There’s a young man with a base ball cap nervously pacing up and down the side looking as if he’s either freaking out or never traveled before, he’s wearing the largest shorts I’ve ever seen. There is a pink clad tiny child yelling mama. Newspapers, security, laptops, books being read and so many sweat pants you would think this gate was Richardson or Mayfield.
Whilst another round of cards is dealt I digress. As our children grow up with ipads implanted to their backs as they come out of the uterus. Unlike 5 years ago, more and more of the older generation are laying down their technophobia. Like my mother, these women used the post office. They touched things and wrote things by hand. Tactile. They met people awkwardly to become best friends. They washed their own nappies
If my generation is the microwave generation I am not looking forward to what they call the next. Because we are ridiculous. NOW NOW NOW NOW
BUT (finally… I thought you’d never get your point)
With change needs to come change. And with needed change we need a foundation in knowledge and wisdom.
Church, like the education system hasn’t really kept up with change. Generically across the board we mainly have the same shape and timings that we have had for fifty years. That’s true for all the churches I met with in my early twenties as well as most I’ve ever heard from friends and family. Even when we change the size or the environment we don’t seem to find a shape that works.
But the worlds and communities we live in have completely changed. As a kid I had connections on the net with probably 20 regulars on msn chat/icq. I rang not many people at all and I sent maybe 4 letters a year. My intimate friendship community would have been 5 families from church and 3 from school. I feel like that’s a similar story for most of my friends. Swapping out church for football team or uncles and aunties.
I currently have over 1000 friends on face book, 2/3rds of which I could meet on the street and have intimate conversations with. I message at 15 people a day, I receive a couple of calls a day I email 5 people through work at least a day. My intimate friends are very low if not 2. And this too, I feel is similar.
We have converted our communications electronically or “speed-date” into intimacies through pubs and clubs and dark rooms at parties. This can be seen in most conversations concerning the hopes and dreams of young people and the experience of young adults.
The world has changed. Our children are more and more described as ADD (attention deficit disorder) Most are kinesthetic learners or at least visual and yet our churches stay mostly the same – A lecture.
Now as an enthusiastic learner I love lectures with good information. I have slowly been taught how to learn. But how regularly do you hear this conversation
“how was church”
“what was the sermon about”
“it was three hours ago”
Theres no reason for us to be lectured at for most of our weekly communal times if it does nothing. Reading a few books on the history of the church we find the shape of church came directly from greek philosophers.
In the book pagan Christianity viola writes
“So central is the sermon that it is the very reason many Christians go to church. In fact, the entire service is often judged by the quality of the sermon.”
So if judgments of the church service is – I forgot……
Back to the attractive woman sitting in front of me at the airport. She has combined motherly mature wisdom and experience with modern technology and culture. Is she not the picture of what church needs to look like?
If sermons aren’t getting through to people can we not do hands on workshops?
If we are blessed with a larger more international community, with the abilities to communicate far distances and accumulate share resources can’t we use those?
If we don’t know how to learn how will we learn?
If we don’t know how to teach people then how will we teach them?
If the church isn’t growing, if the church isn’t stepping out in faith because their faith isn’t growing, if we aren’t comfortable with change when change is what Jesus calls us to
doesn’t something need to change dramatically?
Trash is easy to eat. You walk outside and find some. Really nice tasting meals can sometimes take hours of effort. But the end result is better for us then trash.
What needs to change in not only our thinking but our doing so that we eat less trash?