In Uncategorized on October 18, 2004 at 6:16 pm

just thinking…

this past weekend, i began to realize that the ‘second generation’ of sinners and saints has a perspective on the christian journey that is quite distinct from that of the first generation. the former has very little christian background. thus, they do not have to struggle to extricate ‘the gospel’ from the encrusted fossil bed of christian culture. they never encountered ‘the gospel glove,’ wet their bed after watching an end-times movie or felt the need to testify to their faith in three-minutes or less. for this reason, when the first generation excitedly discusses the beauty, goodness and truth we have discovered as we’ve learned to live the gospel in community, the second generation either looks at us with blank stares, or, as was the case on saturday morning, falls asleep. they were not presented with the gospel as a principle, nor have they ever been lead down the romans road. hence, the gospel has always been as much a lived experience for them as it has been a theological truth.

moreover, the second generation never grew up attending weekly ‘worship services,’ looking forward to dawson mcallister conferences or spinning ‘passion’ cds in their discmans. thus, while the first generation looks forward to the possibility of large group worship settings in which we can belt out erotic worship tunes like ‘hungry’ and connect with other groups of believers, the second generation couldn’t care less about the lack of large group settings. for instance, last night, mikey, who is one of our newer members went with us to a joint worship service in salem. the church that hosted the evening is a quirky little emergent group known as ‘the gathering.’ since they come out of the charismatic tradition, it was not surprising that the beating heart of the service was musical worship. as the rest of us sang the heart of worship, vineyard standbys such as find me in the river and even a campfire tune or two, mikey couldn’t sit still. one moment he was going next door to get coffee, the next he was pacing in the back of the room and, somewhere in the midst, he also found the time to field a phone call or two. at first i was a little annoyed by mikey’s behavior (especially by his lack of cell phone etiquette, a topic that deserves full treatment in any postmodern catechism), but, after thinking about it for a bit, i realized that he simply doesn’t connect with this style of worship. mikey doesn’t know the songs in the evangelical cannon, is more accustomed to interactive than passive worship and simply wasn’t designed to sit still. as a result, the actual ‘service’ did little for him. that isn’t to say that mikey didn’t worship. he took full advantage when the floor was open, went out of his way to spend what little money he had to buy a fellow worshipper a cup of decaf coffee and engaged in lengthy discussions both before and after. however, i don’t think mikey will be itching to buy tickets to the sixth ‘one-day’ conference anytime soon.

all of this to say that i am so thankful that God is moving the church in new directions. although alex never shook the gospel glove, he is one of the most vibrant, engaging disciples i have ever met. he rarely speaks openly about his faith, but co-workers and friends are asking him if they can come to church. moreover, while mikey has never prayed the sinners prayer and has a pentagram tatooed on his shoulder, he told me last night that he is ‘leaning’ towards following Christ more than he follows wicca.

in this moment i realize that his mercies are indeed new every morning. now, if you’ll excuse me, i have some marketing to do.


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