The church’s response to our changing world

Posted: July 2, 2015 by efenster in Ideas
Tags: , , , ,

  • The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can legally marry in all fifty states
  • The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care)
  • The Confederate flag came under withering attack, after the tragic Charleston shootings
  • The U.S. Census Bureau announced that there are now more Millennials than Baby Boomers
  • President Obama announced that the U.S. and Cuban governments were re-establishing embassies

Moments like this happen every decade or so, don’t they?  The falling of the Berlin wall.  The 9/11 terrorist attack. Who would have thought the above would happen, let alone in such a short period of time.  I told my children that they will probably remember the news from the last ten days the rest of their lives.

Unknown-1Not only did these events create a sensation of the surreal for me and my family, a four-day power outage due to a huge rainstorm also contributed.  And in the midst of all of this, representatives of the U.S.’s youngest generation, stood on opposite corners of an intersection in our neighborhood.  Without TV, videos, and other electrical entertainment, one group of children gathered on one corner, another group on the opposite corner, and they held a yelling contest right there in the middle of a summer day.  Back to the most basic entertainment that kids over the centuries have enjoyed.

It got me to thinking about our churches.  How do we respond to the swirling changes that are so often in the news each day?  The rise of the “nones,” the “dones,” and in an article I read just today, the “gones.”  The decline of the mainline Protestant churches.  The United Methodist Church.  Our increasingly secularized culture.  Maybe we need to take a cue from my neighborhood’s children and return to the basics of what it means to be the church.  Maybe we need to let go of our desire to sustain our institution, give up our rummage sales, bazaars, and fish fries, take our eyes off ourselves and what we want, and give ourselves away–loving God and others as passionately as the church of the first century did…and the children in my neighborhood as they were screaming.  Think about it…

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development



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