Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Post-Modern Pilgrims

(Note: Len Sweet, author of “Post-Modern Pilgrims,” is going to be watching the blog! Feel free to leave your comments, questions or insights. Also, I have “fixed” the blog settings so that anyone can post comments. I didn’t realize that my settings kept people from posting. Sorry!!)

Things are confusing! My seminary classes were taught by professors who hadn’t served in a local church for ages (if ever). I was trained to pastor a church in the “modern” intellectual world. I serve as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—a denomination that is heavily skewed to those who are “older.” Neither of my kids (both in college) will end up Presbyterian—it is boring and doesn’t meet their needs or preferences. My kids aren’t typical—not that they have left the PCUSA but because they go to church at all. Denominational loyalty is quickly fading away. “Mainline” churches have become the “sideline” churches. Saddleback Church has jumped with both feet into HIV/AIDS ministry and care—yet, many in the HIV/AIDS care world are skeptical and don’t want them there (a conservative, evangelical church involved with a lot of sick folks, many of whom are gay). MTV has more impact on the youth than most parents do. HELP! Yet, MTV is fading away. MySpace and Facebook are the place to connect with friends and peers.

I am living in between two worlds… the modern and the post-modern. How does the church I serve navigate between these two worlds… or can it?

Leonard Sweet, in "Post-Modern Pilgrims," has some VERY helpful suggestions on how the church can effectively communicate with the post-modern culture while not becoming a part of that culture (or any particular culture, for that matter). The book is a wonderful mix of insightful ideas, appropriate quotes and “faith practices and web interactives.”

Tonight (Tuesday, May 23) the final two contestants on American Idol will sing for a million dollars. Simon, Randy and Paula will evaluate the performances. Yet, it is the millions of people who call in and vote that will decide which person is the winner. MILLIONS want to participate. Millions will participate.

Next Sunday morning, Presbyterian pastors will get up if front of congregations and preach God’s word. People will sit in the pews (chairs) and quietly nod their heads in agreement. It is a monologue, pure and simple. It is as far from the American Idol experience as one can get. Two different worlds—American Idol is bigger today than at any time in its history; the PCUSA is in membership free-fall.

Our look at "Post-Modern Pilgrims" will help us to see the world through new eyes—Sweet’s eyes. See you tomorrow as we begin to dig into Epic Church for Epic times.


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