TOSSING IN MY PENNIES [MY TWO CENTS ON MILLENNIALS AND THE CHURCH]

Posted by Tori on Aug 1, 2013 in a good word.

Millennials and the church have been blowing up the Internet this week (CNN – Rachel Evans, Gospel Coalition – Trevin Wax, John Hawthorne, etc.). It seems everyone has something to say or something to add to the discussion. I, too, have a lot of thoughts. Usually, I keep quiet on things like this that seem to leave such a ripple effect, but for whatever reason I’m gonna break that rule.

I’m a Millennial. But, I’m not one to always follow the trends like everyone else. I never actually owned an N*Sync CD. However, I did rock a WWJD bracelet for a year or so. And, I did watch Boy Meets World. And, let’s not forget that silly Giga Pet that had to be fed all the time. I didn’t have my own cell phone until I started college. And I remember when Facebook added my university to its list of schools. I remember when blogging was a Xanga page. My first smart phone was a Palm Centro. And it was a learning curve to me. If I hadn’t been engaged to a techie, I don’t think I would’ve gotten it. While I grew up in this culture, I’ve always tended to be more of a traditionalist. I read classic literature. I studied philosophy. I value the importance of thinking well. I value the perspective of eternity. I need that. I need to take a step back and take in the bigger picture. I need to understand where I and my people fit into this great cloud of witnesses; where I stand in relation to the fathers of the church and those who have lived faithfully before me. While I am a part of this generation, I am also a part of something even bigger and way more defining than the year I was born. I am a part of the Church of Christ, His body and representative here until He returns.

G.K. Chesterton wrote: “Philosophy is merely thought that has been thought out. It is often a great bore. But man has no alternative, except between being influenced by thought that has been thought out and being influenced by thought that has not been thought out. The latter is what we commonly call culture and enlightenment today. But man is always influenced by thought of some kind, his own or somebody else’s; that of somebody he trusts or that of somebody he never heard of, thought at first, second or third hand; thought from exploded legends or unverified rumours; but always something with the shadow of a system of values and a reason for preference. A man does test everything by something. The question here is whether he has ever tested the test” (from The Common Man). Wise words.

Christians should influence culture, striving to live and to raise their children to uphold Christ and the Gospel above all else. The Gospel is trans-generational. Loving God and loving people still sums up all the Law and the Prophets. Yes, change is coming and has come and is entering the Church and is camped out on its doorstep. No, it’s not going anywhere. But, I feel like the contemporary church has focused a little too closely on cultural relevance and is losing it’s grasp on the purpose of living as the bride of Christ, the people of God. It’s become more of a business than a living organism, the hands and feet of its redeemer. Christ is the head of the Church. Not the culture. Not the whims and desires of any generation. Not the prevalence of the discussion on sexuality. Not the popularity of social justice. Christ is the head. And when He functions as such, the Church functions as it should no matter the generations or the cultures that it consists of. I think, too, that sometimes we Westerners forget that we aren’t the center of the Church, or the world, for that matter.

I think that Millennial Christians, myself included, will benefit from taking a step back to reevaluate who we are in Christ and our role in the Church in shaping and reaching a culture that is far from Him — one that venerates self and instant gratification over anything eternal. We have to work out where we stand. Yes, there are elements of “how we do church” that are frustrating and that fall short and that need to be rethought (last year’s National Back to Church Sunday Rap). We shouldn’t just keep doing it because that’s how church is supposed to be done (excellent piece: “Doing It Wrong”). Sunday morning should scream AUTHENTIC, because Christ was the embodiment of authenticity.

I want to be part of a generation like the men of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32 who understand the times and know what to do. Are Millennials leaving the Church? Looks like it. Am I leaving the Church? Nope. Because I’m his bride. I was bought with a price. I love His Church because I love Him. His people here on Earth will always be broken. Always be finite. Always let you down. This is never to discount the experiences of those who have been hurt and devastated by the Church. I can’t template my own personal experience within the Body onto someone else. I have to listen and open my eyes to how I may be shaping someone else’s experience within the Church. And, I am so sorry for the hurt you’ve experienced. You’re right, it shouldn’t be that way.

People will always come and go, but He is the constant.

HE is the one that saves. HE is the one with the words of life.

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