Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Justice???

Is it possible that you can have Justice without Truth?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Resist

When political opposition to Trump is cast as "resistance".

When these sorts of words are used to describe those with whom we disagree politically.

"sexual predator"
"pervert"
"oppressor"
 "deviant"
engaging in  "atrocity"
 "evil".
"childish"
"ridiculous"

engaging in "horrible acts or promoted atrocious policies"

Why are we surprised that someone is motivated to try to start to eradicate the "evil", to engage in active resistance?

When "art" is actively engaged in dramatizing the assassination of the sitting president, does it surprise us when people follow the examples set  .by those in the public eye?


Sunday, June 4, 2017

#10

10. The Public Perception

I'm going to start be stating the obvious, that perception is not reality.  I personally know and am involved with multiple churches who are doing virtually everything he suggests, and more, but who are still perceived negatively by the culture.   Jesus told us to expect this.  Focusing on perception rather than on doing the work of God's Kingdom here on earth is a mistake.  The only one who we need to be concerned with pleasing is God.

 

 
"We should be serving the crap out of them."

No argument.   I'll tread lightly on pointing out that this sort of contradicts the "don't expect us to serve" (#8), but in reality he's right.    

"We desperately need to be calling the schools and the city, knocking on doors, asking everyone around us how we can make their world better. When the public opinion shows 1/3 millennials are ANTI-CHURCH, we are outright failing at being the aroma of Christ."

Again, he's correct.  The Church should be seeking out many and varied means to do just what he suggests.  But our motivation should be to expand and further God's Kingdom on earth, not to try to impress millennials.

Again, from personal experience I'm pretty confident that this is happening more than he realizes. 

Solutions:
  • Call the local government and schools to ask what their needs are. (See: Service Day from #3)
  • Find ways to connect with neighbors within the community.
  • Make your presence known and felt at city events.
I have no problem with any of these things.  I do feel like having the right motivation can make a huge difference.  I also believe that nothing that the Church does will necessarily change peoples perceptions, and that the Church needs to remain the Church and not become just another social service organization.

Ultimately what the Church has to offer is far more than alleviation of material suffering.

9b

"We don’t like how the world is telling us to live, but we never hear from our church either."

I'm thrilled that he's tired of trying to conform to the world and wants the Church (as well as older people) to speak Truth, there are plenty of Biblical references to this sort of inter-generational teaching.mentoring going on and I  think it should be a priority.

But in all seriousness, I'd be willing to bet that there are a multitude of churches tackling these and other "controversial" subjects all across the country.

But even if he can't find something existing, what would stop him from pursuing something?  One of my issues from the beginning is the sense of "We want someone (the Church to do all these things for us.", rather than a sense of pushing and showing initiative.  I guess the piece could count for something, but it seems like such a broad and general (and poorly researched) piece that I'm not sure it's going to do very much.   (I'm sending it to the folks at our church who are working on this so at least it'll get in front of someone)

Solutions:
  • Create real and relevant space for young adults to learn, grow and be vulnerable.
  • Create an opportunity for young adults to find and connect with mentors.
  • Create a young adults program that transitions high school youth through late adulthood rather than abandoning them in their time of greatest need.
  • Intentionally train young adults in how to live a godly life instead of leaving them to fend for themselves.
The first two solutions are so inoffensive and non controversial that I completely agree that both of those things should (I would argue already are) happen.

The third one is exactly what out church is engaged in right now.  Working with a seminary and multiple other churches to try to figure out what this looks like.  Having said that, I find in interesting/contradictory that the same guy who lambasts institutions and "the church" is now advocating for a church based institutional solution.   I'd also point out that the entire premise of the piece is that milennials are abandoning "the Church", which somewhat contradicts his point here.  Having said that, he should be heartened to know that what he wants to happen is actually happening.

This last one, blows me away.   This is so absolutely counter to current culture that I'm actually impressed.  To be willing to swim against the tide of both culture and much of the mainline church is quite a task and it encourages me to see this kind of desire.

Again, the millennials need to get a handle of the existence of Truth, but if they do, and if they commit to this sort of radical counter cultural lifestyle that would be impressive.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

#9a

"9. We Want You to Talk to Us About Controversial Issues (Because No One Is)"

1.  Really, no one is talking about controversial issues, really"

2.  I could point to multiple churches within a 10 mile radius of where I am sitting that demonstrate otherwise.

 

"People in their 20s and 30s are making the biggest decisions of their entire lives: career, education, relationships, marriage, sex, finances, children, purpose, chemicals, body image."

As has been the case for decades, centuries even.

"We need someone consistently speaking truth into every single one of those areas."

I completely 100% agree without any question that this is the case.

The problem with this declaration is the fact that so much of the world (including/especially millennials) is actively denying the existence of transcendent Truth.  Too many churches/christians are jumping on that bandwagon. 

Until it can be agred that:
1.  There is an actual Truth that exists.
2.  That the Truth can be determined to the extent that it is possible to speak confidently about it.
3.  That there is some standard of transcendent Truth that applies in all circumstances.
4.  It makes sense to subordinate personal opinion to Truth.

how does "confidently speaking truth" look? 


"No, I don’t think a sermon-series on sex is appropriate for a sanctuary full of families, but we have to create a place where someone older is showing us a better way because these topics are the teaching millennials are starving for. We don’t like how the world is telling us to live, but we never hear from our church either."

Again, if your not hearing it from the church, you're not listening.  It's not that there aren't churches doing exactly what you say you want, it's that so many churches preaching a message indistinguishable from "the world".  

In all honesty, (I've been having this conversation with son #2 as it relates to his ministry degree/church employment) this is the key issue for millennials.   How will they respond to the concept of transcendent Truth.   Will they continue the current path of many christians?   If there is truly a desire for "confidently speaking the truth", then there will be very little satisfaction with churches that can't/won't/don't "confidently speak truth" but instead offer only opinion and simply regurgitate the message that we get from "the world"


#8

"8. We Want to Feel Valued"

 "Churches tend to rely heavily on their young adults to serve."

1.  Without seeing any sort of objective support for this claim, I have to be skeptical.   If the premise of the piece is correct and Millennials aren't  attending church, then I suspect that no one expects them to serve of they aren't there.   

2.  The real question is a matter of proportion.  Are millennials expected to serve out of proportion to all other demographic groups?   any rational person would agree that this broad based and unsupported claim can't be taken seriously at face value.

3.  I'm confused, if one of the things the church is failing at is "serving the poor", then why would millennials not want to serve?

 

 "You’re single, what else do you have to do? In fact, we’re tapped incessantly to help out. And, at its worst extreme, spiritually manipulated with the cringe-worthy words “you’re letting your church down.”"

Has this ever happened, sure.  Is it "incessant", I really doubt it.  Is it right to manipulate, not ever.  But that is not specific to millennials.

Speaking from experience, one of the things that bothers my oldest son currently is the fact that his job schedule prevents him from serving.   Of course this is someone who has been serving in various capacities for years.  

"Millennials are told by this world from the second we wake up to the second we take a sleeping pill that we aren’t good enough."

If this is even remotely true, why would anyone ask people who "aren't good enough" to serve?  Sounds like a bad plan.

"We desperately need the church to tell us we are enough, exactly the way we are. No conditions or expectations."

On it's face, this doesn't even make sense ( as a general proposition).  I'm sure there are individual situations where this is an issue, but this piece is addressing the meta scale.     

I'd argue that this is a question of priorities.   From the earliest Church, there has been an expectation that the church members will serve others.  Servant leadership is the model.   To suggest that being asked to serve is somehow demeaning or more demanded of certain groups is simply not supported.


"We need a church that sees us and believes in us, that cheers us on and encourages us to chase our big crazy dreams."

I get tired of mentioning this, but I'd say that churches encouraging and supporting millennials to plant churches is exactly that.   I'd suggest that all generations in all churches should be encouraged and supported in chasing dreams.   I guess I'd think that there might be some limits to this (Not building an altar to Satan, or that some dreams fit better in some churches than in others) but on the whole it makes sense.

Solutions:
  • Return to point #1: listening.
  • Go out of your way to thank the people who are giving so much of their life to the church.
I have no issues with either of these, although they don;t seem to actually solve the problems he identifies.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

#7

"We Want to Be Mentored, Not Preached At"

My first reaction is that this is not an either/or situation but a both/and situation.  If these folks are looking for a Biblically based church, then both preaching and mentoring should be a part of the community.


"Preaching just doesn’t reach our generation like our parents and grandparents. See: millennial church attendance. We have millions of podcasts and Youtube videos of pastors the world over at our fingertips."

Again my first reaction is, "So what?", could it possibly be that the problem is not with "preaching" but with the millennial generation?

Of course, this first sentence is nullified by the second.  They all fine with being "preached  at" as long as they can choose who it is and do it at their convenience.


"Millennials crave relationship, to have someone walking beside them through the muck. We are the generation with the highest ever percentage of fatherless homes."

1.  I hate to break it to him, but every human ever is wired for relationship.  Maybe that's why all the NT church language is in the context of relationship.

2. Sometimes it just might take looking for these kinds of relationships, rather than waiting for them to seek you out. 


"We’re looking for mentors who are authentically invested in our lives and our future. If we don’t have real people who actually care about us, why not just listen to a sermon from the couch (with the ecstasy of donuts and sweatpants)?"

1.  They're out there, looking for folks to mentor, but they won't find you on the couch.

2.  Again, it's not the concept of a sermon, but the fact that it's all about convenience.

3.  Unless you're actually in places where older mentor types hang out, how do you think you'll ever meet them?

 

  Solutions

  • Create a database of adult mentors and young adults looking for someone to walk with them.
  • Ask the older generation to be intentional with the millennials in your church.
As with the last point, I don't have a problem with either of these.  I do have a problem with the attitude that this needs to be done for them and that it's all the "older generation's" fault.   We're back to both/and.  We're also back to the fact that there are thousands of churches  out there doing this already, it's just a matter of finding them.  Or, heaven forbid, plant one.