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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.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Polarities of Youth, part II

(please see last week's post for the introduction to this thought...ed.)

Whatever the term "postmodern" means, we believe it to mean something that "young" people are. As my experiences last week with a couple of young people showed, that is not always true. These two folks, engulfed in the contemporary world as much as any two youth, both displayed thoughts of mind that were much more "modern" than they maybe knew. If I could have told the young lady that the stuff she is talking about for Christianity is stuff that Jonathan Edwards would approve (but of course he would add his usual brilliant rhetoric and intellectual rigor. Edwards was a colonial preacher famous for many things, not the the least of which is the revival movement in Christianity some 300 years ago.) So she is hardly "post-modern" in her thinking, as much as other aspects of her life (driving, talking to me, and answering the phone all within thirty seconds) are very post modern.

Same is true for the young man who would rather protect trees than sit in church...this idea goes way back to the Romanticists and Transcendentalists of this country (in fact, this young man actually claimed that he was "probably a Transcendentalist." I could only agree) some 200 years ago. The polarities these two youths exhibited have been around for a long time, and in this sense are hardly new, much less "post-modern."

So when the old guy like me brings up the thoughts that Christianity is not how people feel about,or even comprehend, God; nor, is the object of worship a one-way street of obedience... but rather, that Christianity is a complex web of relationships that weave so tightly together as to be reality itself, and which constant struggles for freedom and power push the edges of the weave to ever and greater lengths...well, let us say that is a little too far past modernity for them to wholeheartedly agree...

But here is the thing: watching the marriage of the two people, both with previous families, children, and spouses in their memories, they participated in an ever growing expansion of life and relationship encompassed only by the grace of God...and then..witnessing the birth of new relationships (we call them "in-laws"), seeing joy and celebration authentically lived...these two young people knew that life was more than anyone...18th Century preacher, 19th Century philosopher...even their own selves could have imagined. And in that, they lived what Christianity has been saying all along: in Jesus Christ, all things are created new. (And how "post modern" is that? Well, we've been saying that...for 2000 years!)

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