My video on "What to Expect When Your Church is Expecting" has hit 4,000 views/pages and counting. I'm humbled and honored by the attention. It also makes me cringe since I hate watching myself on video.
A few folks have countered that there are places in which the church is not pregnant, but really and truly dying. I agree. One person rightly pointed out that the symptoms for pregnancy that I named are not unlike the symptoms of a cancer patient. Also true. As I've said, this video/post offers a metaphor. To the extent that the metaphor helps, great. If it gets in the way of the hard work of dying that must take place in many specific places, disregard.
May my words be faithful or may they slip harmlessly away.
The inimitable Jan Edmiston riffed on the metaphor in a wonderful way today. The church is graying. So what is our responsibility as grandparents to this new church that is coming into being?
It occurs to me that those in my and older generations need to keep something in the forefront of our minds as the church we love is pregnant:
The Next Church Will Not Be Our Baby.
We will have great ideas for how to care for it and treasure it. We might even be able to help pay for its nurture and its future. But it’s not our baby.
This is not to say we will not be ideal grandparents. But it’s possible that we could overstep our bounds. We could chuckle at the disciplines the younger generations have chosen to follow. We might want to talk incessantly about the way we did it. But let’s not.
She ends by saying that the church of the future will be a lot browner than it is now. That's also true. And yet the Presbyterian Church is very white. So what's going on there? Adoption is another metaphor that might help us. I wonder if there's someone out there that might riff on that in some creative ways. Susan? Alex?
Let's all keep dreaming and spinning generative metaphors.