Monday, October 24, 2005

Kirk Cameron Does It Again

In case you missed it, Left Behind: World at War (the third of the Left Behind movies) premiered over the weekend. In a “shocking” twist, the producers decided to ignore conventional wisdom of opening movies in movie theatres and instead opened the movie in more than 3,200 churches nationwide. Three cheers for Christian separatism!

(For those of you unfamiliar with the world of Left Behind, take a glance over at Slacktivist’s ongoing review of the book as he reads through it.)

There are so many things to comment on. You could mention how yet another mediocre Christian film once again lowers the bar for Christian artists everywhere. You could speculate on whether or not this will increase sales for Left Behind board game.

Instead, think about this: one of President Bush’s most famous pieces of legislation is No Child LEFT BEHIND. Maybe Bush’s educational policy is not about making sure American children keep up with their competitors around the world. Maybe it is about making sure no American children have to endure the tribulation.

If that’s not compassionate conservatism, I don’t know what is.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Quarantining a Generation

My friend Beth sent me an article by Suzanne Hadley entitled "Quaranting A Generation." Hadley spends her days as an editor for the children’s magazines Clubhouse and Clubhouse, Jr., but for this article she decides to change her target audience a bit and address her own young adult generation.

The thrust of the article is that by creating services and even churches devoted exclusively to young adults, we have actually harmed them more than helped them. The conventional argument is that this group has left the church (or never bothered to enter the church) because they feel ignored. In response, churches reached out and created these special services. We even have a whole movement of tragically hip young adult Christians we call the Emerging Church.

Hadley believes that our generation has effectively been cut off from the older generation of Christians, which is to our detriment. As she looks at the New Testament church, she sees a group that is integrated in all areas – even age. She feels that age integration is essential for our generation to mature in a healthy way.

I agree that age segregation is a growing problem in the church. My church is blessed to have a wide range of age groups. I have actually seen first hand the impact being around mature, older Christians has had on my life.

But age segregation still happens. My wife and I are beginning a new small group. Everybody in it is under 30. I didn’t try for that to happen; it just kind of did.

This is an issue I’ve wrestled with before, and I always end up with some of the same questions:

  • Should the church “legislate” age integration or should it let things happen organically, even if that means segregation?
  • Are these new church services, congregations, etc. really attracting unchurched people, or are they just gathering spaces for young adults who think they’re edgy and who want an excuse to be mad at the mainstream church?
  • Will young adults leave the church or never enter the church if we do not have church services designed specifically for them?
  • Or is it more important to simply be authentic, whatever that looks like for each church?

Monday, October 3, 2005

Pretentious Seminarian Watch

Classes at the seminary have only been meeting for one week. Already, I have found a great example of what I will term "Pretentious Seminarianism." Basically, it's when a seminary student places way too much importance on themselves or their "original thoughts" about theology.

Our first example this year is a guy who called himself "A Postmodern Contemplative." Can you really assign yourself a title like that? I'm sure he's contemplating something, but judging by the look of him, he's spending more time contemplating what kind of product to put in his hair instead of God’s role in the universe. He seems like a nice enough guy, he just takes himself way too seriously.

I should start assigning myself labels. Maybe I can become "A Premodern Mystic." That should get people's attention. I'll start praying for the stigmata immediately.