What I’m Reading Today: 1 Corinthians 14
A few years ago I heard a statistic at the annual meeting for the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Church of Christ. The statistic – given by the UCC Staff Person directing the Still Speaking campaign at the time – said that 80% of 18 years have never been to church. That statistic is astounding to many of us who grew up in the church and assumed most others had as well!
That statistic raises important questions for those of us inside local churches to consider – one of which is how we incorporate younger folks who show up to participate in the life of our faith communities. Let me unpack the second half of that statement a little bit for you.
You see, there is a huge difference between younger and older generations these days. Many older folks grew up in church and have a solid grounding in the sacred stories of our faith tradition and the religious language we church folks tend to use with each other (i.e. words like “narthex” and “lectionary”). We then assume everyone shares that knowledge base. Rarely do we translate things for younger folks who lack that knowledge. It's no wonder so many younger folks tend to get lost when they do show up and quickly give up on us.
Therein lies one of the biggest challenges for our faith communities. How do we provide spiritual experiences that can speak to individuals with both strong faith backgrounds and those with no faith background whatsoever?
Paul gives us some helpful ideas in the portion of 1 Corinthians that I read for today. Even though Paul was addressing a different topic, his words can still give us some helpful insight into the matter.
“Plain truth-speaking… goes straight to the heart of believers and doesn’t get in the way of non-believers.” And later – when addressing the importance of giving different members of the community an opportunity to speak – Paul added: “You all [should] learn from each other.”
Simple truths… Shared learning opportunities... What solid foundations for building healthy community!
So how do you tend to lead your life? Do you get lost in the complexity of issues that speak primarily to your own life and your own experience and forget about others; or do you seek ways to simplify things and create opportunities to learn from others as ways to cultivate relationships with others?
Til next time…