Deconstructing Church

Stages of a generational revolution ... what will the Boomers do?

Keith Drury


Schuyler Avenue Wesleyan said...

We have an 80 year old teaching our young adults Sunday morning class.

We havent kicked it off yet but we are doing this in order to battle some of the things mentioned in the article.

As of right now, by just taking a grass-roots poll...he is going to have the largest class within the last 20 years.

In order to develop a church that "withstands" communication must come from all generational groups. A good leader can help facilitate that.

I'm just happy to be the first person to comment for the new school year. Thank you.

Lawrence W. Wilson said...

Keith ... exactly what did the Boomers (I speak as one) keep?

Chris said...

Lawrence, they kept the sermon as the center of the worship service.

vanilla said...

Welcome back. Clearly you did more than simply walk up and down mountains this summer. Good for you.

Some of us are indeed happy to be allowed to ride in the back of the bus. Some, I suspect, still want to throw us under the bus.

Look. It may seem to be a cliche, but worship is about Our Lord and Saviour and his grace us-ward. Will the 'emergents' keep that part at least?

[Good for Schuyler Avenue]

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Isn't the reason that the Christian faith gets re-defined is because we try to tightly define what faith means and that undermines the very nature of faith? And then, we try to determine what another individual should have faith in?(We want control of another in the name of religion).
Tradition is NOT wrong, as it defines the values of a particular culture, but personal faith is personal commitment to the values that mean the most to the individual. Traditions are defined by communities of faith or written texts.
Since faith is defined by trust, we must discern what the individual has faith in most. Is it Tradition? Text? Experience? OR Reason? Or a mixture?
The Church is constructed by humans who developed a Tradition out of a Tradition, that came to define our American form of government. Freedom of religious conviction and expression is protected by our government because we value the individual's right to "define his own life" within his own personal convictions and commitments.

Today's educated person cannot "obey" the text alone as a fundamentalist would condone, as the text has a context within Tradition. Science has re-defined the philosophical base upone which the Church had understood its faith. And it becomes improbable that God controls all things, as disasters happen that do not correlate with what Christians attest they know about God...Theology has always attempted to give explaination to the faith. But, theology falls short in addressing the suffering in the world, There are no answers to some questions...

John Mark said...

One of the more insightful phrases is from #4 "a new kind of legalism emerges...."
I think that many Boomers are still not totally clear on what to keep. What are the absolute essentials? Our struggles may have to do with being open (as boomers) to dialogue, and being the mature ones in the relationship. Personally, I wrote the book on immaturity, so I should be sympathetic.
I read a discussion on alcohol not long ago and the comments ran toward “I like a good beer now and again, denominational rules be hanged” to “We will do as we please and let the manual catch up with us.”
I suppose Boomers did the same thing to some degree.
Candor without rancor is the ideal.
When we speak of giving up power, that will get sticky because of some of the issues I think will be involved.

Pastor James said...

I just left a traditional church full of conflict over worship styles, vision, what to keep and what not to keep. I've been at my new ministry position for two weeks. Here at the new church, and maybe it is too soon to make this assumption, but it doesn't seem like these people have ever experienced this revolution ever. I think they are on the brink of beginning one. They have just realized that unless something is done their church will die. Could it be possible that there are healthy churches out there that aren't becomming modern in their worship styles and that young adults and teens will still attend these traditional churches if they are simply given the gospel. I think there is a now a trend going on where people are starting to like communion, the creeds, the hymns, the organ, and even the offeratory as it was 40-50 years ago in our churches. I even mentioned some of these ideas to a few young adults in my new church and they looked at me clueless as if they thought this is the way every church wroshipped. Maybe I'm out in left field trying to get a mental grasp of my new church. We'll see.

James Moore
Shiloh Community Church

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I want to be positive in understanding what faith may mean in a positive sense, as reconstruction of faith NOT Church, as God is above church,(or any other religion, for that matter), is what is needful...please see blog @angiespoint.blogspot

Tim Hawk said...

Obviously, this struggle is greatest within denominations. With the enjoyment of positive support of the independent church today, those emergents who face attack or resistance may just move to independence, displaying their adventurous spirit.

You have written elsewhere about church power shifting one generation to another and the grasp of power possibly causing a two-generation power jump. I hope boomers do not attack emergent ideas or maintain power too long, but rather, as you stated, mentor and pass it along.

alee said...

i think that one of the reasons the emergent generation is taking so long in grasping power from the boomers, is their smaller numbers, but also because of their focus on social justice and missions. That focus leads many of them to take para ministry or even government or secular charity jobs instead of denominational ones. They are less concerned with church as their parents have defined it, and are more interested in doing something, (at least at this point in their development)

Bitty said...

In my historical liturgy nerdiness, though I have plenty of opinions about #1 and 2, the thing I’ll live, die and fight for is #3. I’m a keeper, a doctrinal packrat. I have as many ideas for #1 and 2 as anyone else my age/generation, but here’s where I’m the same as a few of them but different from most Boomers (including my conservative mother!): I want to visit the ecclesial attic and see what our ancestors wore. Felix culpa? Throw it out by the curb. But deep significance of the physical body and emphasis on the physical resurrection of the dead at the last day? Keep! Keep! Keep! And do you know how much resistance I run into when I suggest that people should use cremation as a last choice only, out of respect for the physical body (a la early church!?!) ?? It’s like I’m an alien from Mars. Yes, yes, I sound like Chris Bounds, perhaps. Good! I am thoroughly convinced that some of the most fresh ways to address problems in the church and world today is to dust off old tomes and do the sensible thing: how did our great great great great grandparents in the faith address this? There are some REALLY good ideas – take Luther’s advice to pastors on how to offer pastoral care to the dying, and what to do in the middle of a plague. It rings true as much today as it did then. What do you do, as clergy, when AIDS sweeps through your village? What do you do when you lose a child to a disease? What do you do in an apocalyptic situation where there’s limited communication and rampant disease? Not many Boomers would say, “what did Martin Luther say about these things?” But you know, it might keep us from a) publishing crappy books that don’t offer anything of substance, and b) reinventing the wheel. Throw away Jabez. But keep Luther. I think some of the people I know who’ve converted to E. Orthodoxy and Anglicanism are probably Keepers, too. We’re tired of plastic water bottles you use once and throw away (or preferably recycle!). We want something that’s been around longer than the internet, and Madonna. I think that’s why “vintage” t-shirts have been so popular, and why vinyl is making a comeback in the age of the iPod. These things give a sense of communal identity (other than nationalism). Your Creed book acknowledges this need: the comfort of a long-standing, family, communal identity. This is a great way to render Christian identity in the midst of multiculturalism and globalization. You don’t have to pray to the Buddha to appreciate other cultures. But if you understand your faith in the big picture, you know that Chinese Christians and Thai Christians are part of your family tree – and you are part of theirs. Maybe that’s also why I like old people: Keepers like to listen even to the people that most are reacting against, recognizing that the pendulum will always swing.

Chap said...

welcome back keith...another great article to help me think through a dialogue on how to pass the keys to a new generation.