Monday, 28 February 2011

We've never done it that way!

It was interesting to go to our neighbouring parish last night for their monthly Question Time. It was reflecting on why young people don't go to church.
It was worth doing, though I don't know that I am any closer to the answer. To be fair the presenters actually made that point before they started...there weren't going to be no answers!
Although the discussion was couched in terms of why don't "young people" come to church; I found I couldn't help but think it is not just young people who don't come to church. There are all sorts of adults who I can think of who no longer come to church. Twenty years ago they would have been the usual suspects.
And for all sorts of reasons they no longer come. There are all sorts of reasons for this
  • Church has become rather bland and some what boring. It seems stuck, if not in the 1950s, then in the 60s
  • The Church has been exposed in some awful scandals. I would maintain that nobody wants to belong to an abusive society and it takes some stamina to work through these issues.
  • While we have gone some way towards caring for the abused I don't believe that we have cared well enough for those of us who have been shamed by this awful stuff and still wanted to belong to this sad church. Many of us just have decided we don't want to belong
  • We have also been inclined to blame those who don't come for not coming. We should perhaps be more careful to scrutinise ourselves. My friend Fr A says, for example, when we have been taklking about trying to make the church more open to gay people...Why would a gay person believe that the church really loves them? Young people might well ask the same thing, or any of a range of others minority groups
  • And to top it all off...Church can be really boring.
Now kids have just decided that they are not even going to get into it, and why would you.

There were some disturbing things about Question Time: Average age...probably 60+;
a sense of desperation amongst those present to get people to come to church; exemplified by questions which seemed to show that what ever the speakers had told us we hadn't heard that maybe people weren't going to come and we should heed the call to "go"
We still don't seem to understand that Christendom has gone, and is not coming back, and what's more we don't want it back


Trevor said...

From a mate in the Uniting Church in Victoria:

"As a former young person and former youth leader/worker, I can dig up plenty of stories about such things as crockery theology: young people being told off for putting the ‘wrong’ crockery away in the ‘wrong’ place after use."

Then we got on to "car-park theology", "pew theology", "broom theology" and "hair-cut theology".

stephen clark said...

Yes, I too was a former young person!
The second speaker on this day made the excellent point that we present a "Moralistic therapeutic deism".
-Do it right and repent of doing it wrong, then you might be healed and God will love you-
Also made the excellent point that once we have done this to 'them'; they are then told to go out and save the world...burdens too heavy to bear!!!