Monday, April 09, 2007

Dear Church...

I'll admit that I've been disillusioned with the church. Sometimes I still am. In fact, just the other day...ahhh...nevermind.

This book by Sarah Cunningham ( sums up so well what I and many of my generational counterparts have felt about the church lately. And while she speaks loudly on behalf of the disillusioned generation, she doesn't let this become what I've heard Philip Yancey describe as a "ritual lament".

At moments I would be thinking "Yes! Let 'em have it." and then the next moment I'm being challenged and wondering what my whole role is going to be. What part will I play in helping the church adjust to a new generation of Jesus-followers? Provided, of course, that it needs some adjusting.

I'm thinking this would be a great book to work through with some similarly-minded people. To hear if the ideas and thoughts resonate with anyone else. To see if this could push/encourage/empower/motivate the disillusioned to start doing something instead of constantly running away. And you have to admit that our generation runs away from the church a lot, right?

But why do we do it? Why don't we stick it out? In fact why do so many people play the "do it my way or I'll leave" card? Why has leaving (or abandoning) the church become so normal?


Bryce said...

I will have to put this book on my "too read" pile...I mean shelf...I mean growing library. I seems like it would be an interesting read.

Coutts said...

i'm not sure i need any help being disillusioned so i probably won't bother with this book. what i need is encouragement to stick with it, recognize the good (even the good intentions of those who might do it otherwise than i would), and build on it.

Knotter said...

I probably didn't explain well enough, but this book spends a time on the good too. That's one of the things I appreciated about it. There's some very practical advice for the disillusioned and encouragement to not walk away from the church. And there is a ver passionate chapter at the end about what one can love about the church. This really is a refreshing read and more of a complete project than some other articles/books I have read.

Coutts said...

oh that's good. i did get the wrong idea. evangelical church is having an identity crisis. i guess this is what happens when you are allowed to change to suit yourself any time you want. its times like this where the Catholic church is especially attractive. don't get me wrong, i want the changes. i just think that the people who don't want them shouldn't be surprised. this is evangelicalism. at the same time, i hope we who want the changes realize we have two options: a) create the new and updated "seeker" church in our own image (whatever that is), or b) actually take a step back and try to do something that will last (which in my opinion is what the better of the emergents are trying to do, drawing from all streams and even from ancient christianity to refill church with timeless meaning and mission rather than trendy truisms and projects)

Knotter said...

Yeah, we need quit running away and doing something different just for the sake of being different.

I'm with you about the "trendy truisms or projects". They won't last any longer than current churches that are just trying to be "cool". Seeker friendly is great, but there has to be something deeper too. The church is supposed to be powerful...but it seems like we've gone taken a lot of the punch out of it. We're relying on ourselves too much.

If we make ourselves look different but don't change the heart of what we're doing, we'll be in the same predicament when our kids are our age. As for what the heart looks like...well...that would be another post for another day.