Bumble's response to my recommendation of an article about heritage resulted in my wanting to comment in a blog entry rather than in a response to his comment.
Several years ago our former Pastor had us repeat the Apostles' Creed. A family who had been raised in fundamentalism got up and left and they have never come back. For them, reciting the Creed was associated with formalism and dead denominationalism, and they wanted no part in that. I mourned their lack of perspective.
In the article I pointed to in the previous blog, Rick Phillips suggests returning to or re-acquainting people with the past. I think he gives some good advice, even if one doesn't want to use the particular forms he proposes.
Our culture is enthralled with the latest and greatest. We almost seem to need the latest and greatest to sustain our interest. And we view what came before us as antiquated and irrelevant. When we bring that approach to our spiritual lives and to our churches, we plunge headlong into a consumer driven mentality, and a mentality that suggests that youth is far superior to age and experience, and I believe we do so to the detriment of our people.
I recall a conversation recently with my brother in law. He had indicated that his Pastor had been approached by a visitor who told him that he could fill his church if he would "lighten up" and preach less, sing more. That - to me - typifies so much of what we hear today. Let me see if I get this right: Our people are biblically illiterate, but I should teach them less? Our people live lives that are no different than the pagans around them, but I need to focus on felt needs?
Those who came before us give us balance. Their wisdom calls us to faithfulness and devotion. We can ignore them, but in so doing we display an unusual arrogance. We certainly want to avoid the extreme that equates doing things the "old" way with biblical fidelity. But if using the contributions of those who have gone before us - even if their style is different than ours - can help deepen our people, then let's open that well from which they can drink.
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