Tuesday, January 23, 2007

FUTURE FAITH?

I just met with John O'Keefe of www.ginkworld.net tonight at the "FAITH FORWARD" Conference, which is about six blocks from my house at the Crystal Cathederal.

Honestly, I think something is wrong with me. I am just so DONE with the talking head, listen to someone pontificate for 45 minutes in a large group, concept of teaching or learning.

I can't sit still for it.

A pretty famous "Emerging Leader" gave an address to the crowd and it was just, (forgive me), a gigantic waste of life.

My guess is that no one at that conference will go home after hearing that talk and do ANYTHING signficant in their life or the world they live in.

Am I the only one who has moved on?

Yet, I am currently working to help promote a 2-day conference which will have pretty much non-stop talking-head keynote addresses and workshops stacked on top of workshops for hours on end.

Is this irony? Is this God's sense of humor? Or is this insanity?

There are better ways of communicating. There are better ways of encouraging change. There are more effective ways of motivating people to action.

Attending a conference, or listening to another sermon, is NOT one of those ways.

At some level, I'm not interested in discussing the future of the Church in America. I have already found my revolution. I have already left the building. I have discovered what works for me. I have already found a way to scratch that itch that could never be scratched by the traditional form of church.

Barna says that the future is the house church. I hope he is right, but I suspect he's not. I think that most smart pastors will start to ask why people are leaving their traditional form of church and begin to develop solutions to keep them from leaving.

I call these future forms of church "Hybrid Churches". They will be somewhere between the community-based, peer-led forms of church that the simple, organic, and house church people have discovered and halfway near the emerging, artsy, social justice form of traditional church where the beautiful college crowd likes to hang.

Still, maybe we're all wrong about what the future of the Church looks like. The truth is that there is still a very large majority of that old, modern, traditional form of church that so many of us find boring, out-dated and sometimes even offensive.

This form of church is still the largest segment of our Christian society (or sub-culture). They control the media. They own the large television stations, they own the "safe" radio stations around the nation, they own the publishing houses and they record the songs that make us sing every Sunday morning.

I don't think that the fringe movement, call it emerging or revolutionary or first-century, whatever...I'm not so sure that our momentum will carry us through to permeate the entire cloth of American Christianity.

I wish that was our future. I hope that eventually all of the old guard will die off and be replaced by the new, forward-thinking, outward focused, Kingdom-living, follower of Jesus. But, there is still a very great chance that, twenty years from now, the Church in America will STILL look exactly as it does now, but with more diversity, and perhaps greater division and polarization of extremes.

What the world needs now is not another sermon. Or another conference. It does not need a better Christian televison station or a more progressive form of church.

What the world needs now is for the Kingdom of God to break through our collective consciousness and transform us all into eager disciples of Jesus.

We need to re-discover the Gospel that Jesus came to proclaim, not the one we've turned into a bumper sticker or a sound bite.

We need a fresh injection of pure, hard-core Jesus.

This will sting a little....

kg

3 comments:

BarBarA said...

WOW! Excellent post. I think you are right on about all of this - especially about what we DON'T need more of and what we DO NEED!

Can Opener Boy said...

At the Emergent conference (San Diego, Feb 2005) I heard Brian McLaren talk about transition (specifically the transition from modern to postmodern in world society) being broken into at least two linear divisions: early & late.

Early transition is characterized, he said, by deconstruction of the "old" which we are leaving. Not knowing what lies ahead of us, it is easy to simply voice our dissatisfaction with what has gone before. The struggle is to maintain an appreciation for our heritage while allowing ourselves to move on. Dissatisfactions being voiced is fine, but our attitude sometimes gets haughty. Respectfully disagreeing and pointing out shortcomings is favorable to ranting.

Thankfully, he said we seem to be moving into late transition. This is characterized by visionary descriptions of what lies ahead turning into reality as we begin to live out our dreams for a new and better way. Knowing now at least a little of what lies ahead of us, the struggle is to not forget our heritage or believe the "new" is the "only".

~ Keith

Miracle said...

Good post Keith. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your upcoming conference now you've had a perception shift about keynote addresses