May I suggest a good, brief article to read from February’s Sojourners Mag.? More than that, I highly recommend that you read it.
“‘Relevane’ Is Not Enough: Many young adults are leaving the church these days. Two 20-somethings reflect on what keeps them in the pews.”
I keep saying that the Anglican form of Christian spirituality is well suited for younger generations…
Anne Marie: “While many congregations modify their music, order of worship, and sermon topics in an attempt to make church ‘relevant’ for newer generations, I am more interested in figuring out how I fit into the rich and complicated tradition of Christianity than in asking how Christianity can be molded to meet my needs.” (After her Baptist, Anabaptist, and Evangelical upbringing, she ended up in an Episcopal Church after college.)
Joshua: “During my college years, this concept of transcendence became real to me as I interacted with the Book of Common Prayer. Together with my community, I would recite the ancient affirmations of faith and engage in timeless rites and rituals that remind the church of its shared vision, the hope to which we aspire. The wonderful thing about transcendence is that it scoops us up locally and globally, backward and forward. As I participate in a liturgical service, I am investing in the local community, making peace with those I see on a regular basis, lifting up prayers of joy and concern week after week, and communing around ancient symbols of nourishment and sustenance. This practice of gathering around a common structure has historically guided the global church and continues to direct us today, giving these words and rituals enduring meaning.” (After growing up Lutheran, he ended up in an Episcopal Church.)
Read the whole article:
Funny how the “Sermon On the Mount” stands in such stark contrast to much of what our present and predominate culture (including far more of the Christian subculture than I would like to admit) seems to champion.
To whom do we listen? To what do we yield? Do we simply listen to those who scratch our itching ears? Do we surrender ourselves to our proclivities, willingly?
It is a terrible thing when disillusionment born of the doings of others takes hold in one’s heart and mind. Perhaps even more profoundly when the heart is captured by such things. What can be said?
Of course, we understand that the human heart is fickle and open to all manner of contrivances and justifications and proclivitcal feelings. Fear? Intimidation? Failure of creativity? Loss of convictions? Selfishness? Sadness? Anxiety? All these and more overwhelm the mind – that which can keep at bay the heart when the heart is unable any longer to buck up.
So it is. When such things whelm common life, a society cannot much resist. When a society cannot resist, the individual hardly can much more.
What is to be done?
The love of many has grown cold; concord among brothers is no more; the very name of unity is ignored; Christian compassion or sympathetic tears cannot be found anywhere. There is no one to welcome someone weak in faith, but mutual hatred blazes so fiercely among brothers that a neighbors’ fall brings them more joy than their own household’s success. And just as a contagious disease spreads from the sick to the healthy during an epidemic, in these days we have become like everyone else: imitators of evil, carried away by this wicked rivalry possessing our souls. Those who judge the erring are merciless and bitter, while those judging the upright are unfair and hostile. This evil is so firmly rooted in us that we have become more brutish than the beasts: At least they herd together with their own kindred, but we reserve our most savage warfare for the members of our own household.
ST BASIL THE GREAT – “On the Holy Spirit” (78)
What is the perceived or real difference(s) between a “person of Faith” and a “religionist”?
How might the difference(s) play out in everyday life and the practice of Faith (in my case, the Christian Faith).
I’m wondering in our changing cultural dynamic whether a “person of Faith” is becoming one who internalizes and lives as fully as possible into the Faith (in our case, the teachings and example of Jesus – fully love God with everything and neighbor as yourself), while a “religionist” may be one who holds the “Faith” at arms length – an academician or one who just engages in cultic ritual practices.
Having done my share of evangelism in a variety of ways (including pantomime and street preaching on the streets and campuses of the U.S. and Europe), the changing dynamic of faith in the U.S. compels us to conceive of the advocacy and spreading of the Faith, differently.
If we want to “evangelize,” it is increasingly the case that people are brought into the Faith only because of what they see in the lives of those who profess the Faith. They see or perceive something different and compelling, ask “what is it about you,” and then most importantly – we are able to tell them! We live into being and becoming the imago Dei.