Today, in Adult Sunday School, a guest pastor – who looked like the kinda guy I’d want to grab a beer with – equated the contemporary church to a crashing plane. This of course immediately grabbed my attention. (If you want me to care about something or listen to you, simply just say ‘plane crash,’ followed by the thing you’d like me to hear.)
He realized he was making a bold statement, and then opened the sermon up to a group discussion of what people felt had changed in the church in the last 25 years. He specified his question, asking everyone who’d gone to church growing up, stopped going, and then recently started going again, to raise our hands. I meekly did, as did a handful of other awkward young adults who’d pressed themselves into decent enough clothes and skipped a boozey brunch to be there. I felt remarkably unalone. He was most curious about we felt had changed. A cool looking girl in weird glasses a few pews in front of my raised her hand and read my mind: Today I can wear cut off jean shorts to church and it’s totally fine. She was indeed rocking them, tastefully, over tights. It was really hard not to high five her. Other people shouted out observations of things that have changed and I felt like I was back in college in one of those particularly interesting lectures that you make you feel alive and intelligent. My favorite observation: there’s less focus on doctrine and more focus on thought.
The Guy I’d like to Get a Beer with concluded with this: The Church needs to evolve because we are evolving. The only way to keep the church from crashing, you know, into a building, or skidding off the runway, is to allow it to evolve with people as they do. Evolve away from chanting and pantyhose, towards thoughtfulness and understanding.