Day one we explored the overarching themes of why my generation is leaving the Church (http://wp.me/pFnzm-dJ) and yesterday we went into more detail of the first reason why this is happening, Community (http://wp.me/pFnzm-dP). Today, we will be talking about the issues of substance. For those of you who are interested in where I stand, this has been the biggest struggle for me in my living embodiment of the Church.
In 1440 Gutenberg created this tiny little invention called the printing press. Also along a similar time frame a guy named Martin Luther began translating the Bible into the common language, German. What happened out of that was a great production of the Bible in the common language and could be distributed to the Common person (not a bad thing). However, once the Bible was given to the common people on their terms, it altogether stopped what was going on for the first 15 centuries of Christianity, wrestling with faith as a community. Christian faith became highly individualistic. We fell in love with what seemed then as a mass of information, and Christianity moved from a communal setting to an individual setting.
Around 20-25 years ago, the internet was created (everyone jokes by Al Gore, but, they believe it was made by a guy named Tim Berners-Lee). The internet has blessed us with Instant Netflix, Youtube, and, even this blog you’re reading. This has also become of the biggest curses to my generation. It is said that we can double our information that we have within a matter of months. My generation has been given so much information, that we can no longer process it at all, we don’t have great tools for discernment or a religious identity to ground us, so therefore, my generation has fallen to the hands of Relativism and Nihilism. We either believe in everything, or, we believe in nothing (which really are the same thing). My generation has been struggling to build answers about God, because God is as much true as what MTV reports on Lady Gaga. All of this information, and, all of the polarized tear that has been created in my generation has paved really two roads that are happening.
The first answer for substance can really be found in the Neo-Reformed movement in the Church. My generation has grown to deeply respect the likes of people like John Piper and Mark Driscoll, who are passionate about the Bible, maintaining their ideas of Christian Orthodoxy and making sure that those of whom are in contact with them have sharp answers and a solid foundation of Biblical Knowledge. Yesterday, we discussed the independent person. Most independent people I know fall into this camp.
The second answer can be found in the new Emerging/Emergent Church movement. My generation has also grown to deeply respect the likes of people like Rob Bell and Brian Mclaren. Both of these guys are also passionate about the Bible, but, they have learned to embrace the doubts that human beings have and also realize that faith is really a journey and answers are to be found in community and that Orthopraxi is more important than Orthodoxy (Right living vs Right Belief) although both of them are passionate seekers of the Truth. Yesterday, I discussed the interdependent person and often they most fall in this camp.
Why this polarity in the Church, we are losing a large portion of it because the Churches that offer the sharp answers can often cut the people who are truly seeking and asking questions. On the same end, for those who seeking for absolutes, those who are not offering absolutes often causes them great frustration because they feel they’re not staying true to the Bible. My generation is looking for substance because we have so much empty void created from all of the information and media, but, the way this is happening is causing the Church to lose my generation?
How can we pursue Truth to not be something that is just in our head but fills our being?
How can we pursue Answers without alienating others Questions?
How can we fill our Churches and my generation with substance? (Not that all Churches don’t have substance.)