I wrote last week about Freedom. It was real good, you should read it.
Every generation inherits the religious practices of the previous generation. Most of the time, they try to change them. They are frustrated by a system, and so they throw out what they can and start over (well, or at least they change something). This is time and energy consuming, and often to the frustration of the previous generation.
I don’t think this is wrong – but it is horribly consuming. I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent with people while they try to deconstruct organized religion, find their own way, only to revert back to the old way with a new twist.
Perhaps in some deep psychological way this is actually rebellion against mom and dad, and not against the religion, but either way I think: can’t there be another way?
You can think of something that your parents did that you now consider old hat. Your kids, if they don’t already, will continue to build a cathedral west.
Here is what I think happens. The form, the way we do church, starts to replace the function, why we are there. Generations come to church and start to become critical of imperfect forms. The older generation gets defensive, and frankly they are quite proud of their new form because it’s quite a bit better than the older form.
And round and round it goes.
Rather than tearing up the old foundation every 30 years, maybe we can spend our energy better. Maybe we’ll be the group that doesn’t spend our time tearing up the old to put down what will be old in 30 years. Maybe instead we’ll focus on Jesus. Our kids will be neither enamored or imbittered to a form because it will have never been our focus.
I’m not recommending that we get rid of structure. I just think it will take a radical commitment to say all the time, in every way possible, “it’s not about the way we’re doing it (that will always change) it’s about why we’re doing it, and who we’re doing it for.”