Pastor's Words
July 31, 2018, 3:51 PM

Im not buying that!


I’m not buying that!

 

No doubt our culture and world are significantly changing around us. We can argue endlessly about the many contributing factors. It seems everyone has their opinion and right to express it, even at the expense of others. Oh, if we could just go back to the time when…

 

Back to the time when my grandparents were a young couple starting a new family in a post war era, (40’s to 60’s). Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely?

 

  • Patriotism was at an all time high
  • The economy was flourishing
  • Babies were being born (Boomers)
  • Highways were being built
  • Suburbs were developing
  • Television (a developing technology) was brought into homes
  • Churches were growing

 

These were amazing times. Our culture and world was changing leaps and bounds.

 

Or, back to the time when my parents were a young couple starting a new family in a dramatic social change era, (60’s to 80’s). Oh wouldn’t that be lovely?

 

  • Breaking with tradition
  • Music – Rock and Roll – The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Woodstock
  • The age of T.V. – Mickey Mouse Club, Ed Sullivan, All in the Family
  • The walk on the Moon
  • Counter Culture, Civil Rights, and Feminism, individualism
  • Church attendance begins its decline

 

These were great times. Our culture and world was changing leaps and bound.

 

How about we go back to the time of my generation? The X’ers, (80’s to 2000’s) starting families in the beginning of the technology age. Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely.

 

  • Home computers become a thing
  • Portable and mobile devices are developing rapidly
  • Access to the world through a internet
  • Satellite T.V. with numerous channels
  • MTV
  • Work to live… not live to work
  • Rise of “No Preference Religion” and “None’s”

 

These were great times. Our culture and world were changing leaps and bounds.

 

The point here is very simple. Each generation has its values, contributions, and mistakes and every new generation is building on or from the values of the former. Who our children are today and what our culture has become, is directly related to the paths we have created. This cyclic process has always been, and, always will be. We are challenged to celebrate and recognize each other for our contributions, values, and differences.

 

As disciples of Jesus Christ, how are we to process this as a community of believers? Most spiritual communities are now confronted with emerging multi-generational concerns. How are we to stay spiritually relevant while meeting these diverse expectations? It takes a commitment of understanding each other, embracing the value and worth of your neighbor, and learning to celebrate our unique differences. At the same time, we must all strive to preserve common core ideas.

 

As the pastor of a multi-generational church, I commonly hear two views. First, “The older generation just doesn’t get it,” and secondly, “the younger generation just doesn’t get it.” These statements are so similar, but often become a position of division. I’m left to figure out what each is not getting. At this point, I think I am supposed to throw out several scriptural references to solve this dilemma, or, tell you what Jesus would do. WWJD? We know, or at least can find, this information on our own. Maybe, this should be approached in a different way. Maybe the struggle in not in the difference, those are clear, rather in the sameness.

 

Regardless of our generation, we are bound together by commonalities;

 

  • Our basic needs must be met
  • We have to feel safe
  • We all long for love and relationship
  • We want to be respected
  • We desire something to believe in

(Maslow’s Hierarchy of need)

 

God desires us to always be changing and growing. Where we are in faith today is not where we are expected to be tomorrow. The results of one generation’s values and contributions become the foundation of the next to build upon. I pray my children’s generation will benefit and learn from the success and failures of mine. I pray I will see, embrace, and celebrate these changes with them. I do not desire to work in opposition to them. I also pray they recognize, embrace, and celebrate the contributions my generation played in making them who they become. It doesn’t matter to me if it looks, feels, or sounds different. What matters…? Was I able to instill, in them, the importance of valuing the things which continue to keep us connected? Will their need be met and will they help meet the need of others? Will they be safe and ensure the safety of others? Will they know love and give love? Will they be respected and give respect to others. Will I carry forward in them something to hold on to and believe in? These are the important questions.

 

It is ok, for me, when church and the spirituality of others looks different from my own, or, what my generation experienced. I am grateful to experience it in my own time and in my own way. It was the same for my parents, grandparents, and many generations before them. You see, it has never been about changing the message. I’m not buying that! The message has always been, is, and always will be the same. It is simply about how the message is expressed in all of God’s people throughout the generations.

 

Love God; Love Self; Love Neighbor… In these, all will be fulfilled!

There is no room in this world for hate!

 

Peace and Blessing

 

Pastor Eddie Pennington