It's on the new David Crowder CD. Listen for it. He says, "the elements of worship are inadequate." It's quite a thought--he compares worship to our drawings of the atom. They are inadequate, but they are the best we can do. We simply cannot draw something that we barely even understand, so we draw what we understand: two dimensions and nice circles.
In 3 weeks, I get to speak to Bent Tree about our values and their relationship to a new, postmodern culture and generation. My efforts will be inadequate. I'm well into the plan and the scripture, but I have no answers for what must happen in the church for it to truly speak to my generation and those that follow. As a friend said last week, "I know what we are doing isn't the answer." And yet, we don't yet know the answer.
Our generation grew up in divorced homes; now we demand time off for family. Our generation grew up without the internet; now we direct it internationally. But we aged too quickly, and those below us have moved in. We look much like them, but something happened. Somewhere during our birth, the world began to shift. Modernism began to lose its grip. Postmodernism reared its head. Between us and the next generation, it took over. We are a legacy generation. We bridged the gap. We look postmodern and yet we are not fully so--the ideas were still forming as we grew.
And the church didn't notice. As postmodernism raised its voice, the church shouted. And as it shouted, it was ignored. Many among us still don't notice. They see the changes in culture and hold onto a belief that America will return to her roots. America will not return. The philosophical underpinnings of the age of reason that birthed her have died. The worldview that once provided a basis for the logic that governed our legal system, our ethical system and our moral base has passed. Authority is no longer assumed. And neither is religion. Where once we could not fathom a sincere ethical basis without a divine foundation, we now listen closely to men like Peter Singer and his atheistic pragmatism. Where life was once sacred, it is now merely life. Mere commodity.
In that culture, which many have failed to even recognize, the church must once again learn to speak. It has to move past the assumptions that have fallen. It must find itself again--not in the liberality of emotion and mysticism, but in the bedrock faith in a risen savior, eternal son of the triune God. We must find our footing in that which does not move. Something truly ancient.
In 3 weeks I get to explain to our church that the church will have trouble with us and even more trouble with those who follow. We love the church and yet we don't understand it. It is inadequate and we know it, but we're not very forgiving. I think James understood this. I think he had lived through a worldview that collapsed and then used his ministry to redefine the church--to release it to the gentiles. You'll have to listen to see why I believe that, but in the end, it's not an answer. It's inadequate. But maybe it's all we have. Maybe that 's the point.