Friday, January 24, 2014


Growing Old or Growing Up?

Chaplain Mike:
It struck me the other day that one of the reasons I have returned to mainline religion is because it’s so, well, adult.

Contrary to what I hear around me so often, I want my grandfather’s church.

I know, I know… there are characteristics of that old, traditional church that are not desirable: many had a narrow, parochial spirit, many were characterized by pervasive judgmental attitudes. They could be exclusive, racist, uncreative, and stuck in their ways. This I readily admit and abhor. A congregation that replaces a living, thriving, growing tradition with anemic or dead traditionalism is of no interest to me.

But I want a church where I know and feel that the adults are in charge, where wisdom trumps enthusiasm, where historical perspective is considered, where depth is valued as much as breadth, where stories have shaped us for generations.


I understand the attraction of youth and enthusiasm and energy. We need young leaders too, but let them be those who have older mentors to guide them and recommend them, not brash entrepreneurs who come with all the answers and stake out territory on their own. As I said before, I want the adults to be in charge.
[emphasis added]
I must say I share this sentiment. It is as if in an effort to make sure the next generation "gets it" we have become them. Rather than call them forward, we have regressed backwards. We have sought to reclaim our youth when we should be inviting them to adulthood.

How utterly selfish of us - not them, us. We have abrogated our responsibility to lead them. We have grown old, but we have not grown up.

We have much to confess.


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