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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Parents got a cell phone! My daughters are ecstatic!

This past Saturday my parents got their first cell phone. While not unheard of for Senior adults to have cell phones, my parents were a bit lagging on this piece of technology. (No doubt my father thought they were just a "fad," and would be out of style by now.) While my parents are just learning how to program speed dial numbers, my teenage daughters have had cell phones for years. (In North Dakota, teens can drive legally at 14...cell phones come early out here.) On top of this rather blessed event of connectedness in our family, comes a study that says the youngest and oldest of our generations are more at opposite ends than ever...that is, whatever my parents are about my daughters are about the exact opposite...(I didn't really need a study for this...I just needed a family dinner. When my oldest daughter was 12 she called her grandparents "Amish," because of their refusal to get a computer...I can't wait until my folks get broadband!)

Of course, church consultants like to say that local congregations are the last places in this country where 4 generations can gather together on a regular basis...although in my experience this is not true. (Large congregations tend to be segregated by age...every age group gets its own minister, and smaller congregations tend towards homogeneity by virtue of the fact that young people often do not show up...so many congregations--although they have the potential to bridge generations--do not, but rather exacerabate the problem with specialized programming and generation-based worship.) But even if congregations do have multiple generations in their mix, what do they do to help them live together? (I remember one time in a congregation I served I wanted to do a video history so that we could begin to work on this issue...it was not well-received. The history would be one generation, the video another.)

At Prairie Table we have the option of being a bit mingled, although we too often succumb to generation "tables." Every now and then we get a mix, and the stories are great, and the generations learn a bit about some of the folks in other groups. At Prairie Table we'd like to see all gaps lessened, age, sex, gender, race, everything that culture wants to divide we want to unify. (Not "unite," we're not building a coalition here.) We take seriously that God wants us all to be one, but not by erasing our differences, but rather in sharing them, and just maybe, we'll get one group to learn how to text on their new phones...and another how to quilt...but whether you text or quilt, you're connecting, and that's what God is all about...

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