Post # 304
We’re on the move again. Religiously that is. Some people remain in the same church all their lives, their parent’s lives and their children’s lives. Some people never go to a church, either through lack of belief, guilt, or shame. Then there’s people like us, a quick count indicates we’ve been members of nine different churches since our marriage, 46 years ago. Some changes were due to significant location moves we made.
This home, of our retirement, has become our longest continuous run, of any of our locations. And yet, we are looking for our third church home in this local.
Without any additional knowledge, I can only assume that prior generations weren’t faced with so many social pressures on their faith. With the exception of a couple of new spin offs, it would seem that most denominations’ theology has remained fairly consistent. Or maybe I’m just oblivious to denominational conflicts of the past, because they’ve been forgotten.
At one time I believed that I was rooted in Methodism, but then I realized that I lived in a state whose population was primarily Methodist or Catholic. Later, believing that I had some Scottish ancestry, I focused on and moved into Presbyterianism. Later I discovered my family was English, and in the 1640’s settled in a little English community in the middle of (Dutch) New Amsterdam. The men all married Dutch women and attended Dutch Reformed Churches in New York, and New Jersey.
And so, we followed this mentioned religious path, but for various reasons we are again on the trek known as church shopping. We are seeing that the traditional church of our youth is like the antique item on the store shelf; “I remember that! I use to use that a lot, but today it doesn’t seem fit into my life.” The thriving, active, living churches today seem to be the Contemporary Non-Denominational type. It seems that the younger generation interested in church opposes the denominational traditional churches. We’re seeing the younger generation choosing non-denominational churches lacking the Sunday morning structure we are used to, as well as certain standard elements like, hymnals, bibles, crosses, seasonal colors, etc. Traditional things have been replaced with lights, stages, projection screens, and videos etc. Performance seems to be the fanfare of the gathering.
Music is another area of change. I love my traditional music; hymns and spirituals and carols. But the growing church has left the traditional music behind for the contemporary, which in its self is even generational. I enjoyed the “contemporary” music of the turn of the century, which is now 15 years old! The new non-denominational now sing even newer contemporary music which is sung and played on the radio today. Its different than what I enjoyed. (Give me Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Old Rugged Cross) I was coming into 4Him as they were going out.
I realize that I can NEVER find the church of my love, it was the church of my youth when my children were young. Our entire family was active, excited and accepted in that church. But our family dynamics have changed, we have become old. It’s now our children’s generation that is excited, accepted and active in the church. There becomes fewer of us oldies to congregate.
And then, in the twisting path of church shopping there is the theological question, will we, can we, fit with today’s church. (This can be an essay in itself.)
I guess I’m just a traditionalist, looking for a contemporary home.