Thursday, October 16, 2014

Editorial: Is it a windmill moment?

By Jerry Wolgemuth, LINK Editor

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” It’s an ancient Chinese Proverb that withstood the winds of time. Perhaps it’s made for this moment.

Wind is a mixed metaphor. It brings images of coats pulled tightly, trees thrashing, waves pounding, roofs surrendering. Yet wind delivered travelers, ground grain, pumped water, illuminated darkness.

You’ve no doubt noticed that “Engaging Young Adults in Ministry” is for the third time in the enviable position of page 3. We think the six chapters deserve the distinction. These six chapters have been transcribed and edited from a dialogue of a panel of young adults at the 2014 Annual Conference regarding the absence of young adults in the church. The full transcripts can be read at tinyurl.com/susumcAC2014.

Also, production began on “Authentic Space,” a video series of six sessions, each divided into three chapters of approximately 15 minutes. You can view them as they are completed at susumc.org/authenticspace.

Winds of new honesty
Two hundred years of an Americanized and clichèd Christianity bring more questions than answers to young adults, and they are good at asking questions, and often, much to our dismay. This generation of young adults might be seeing some cracks in our pronouncements of faith and are honest enough to risk asking the hard questions. The church has been rather comfortable with its doctrines, and being chided into examination is ultimately a plea for honesty.
 Perhaps we can say that honesty should meet honesty at this point.

Winds of new thought
Young adults are more attuned to lateral thinking; thinking in many different directions, finding alternatives outside of worn patterns. (Heinz squeezing ketchup out of the bottom of the bottle was an invention from within the Millennial generation.) Young adults are ready, willing, and able to experiment, to find new ways of dispensing the gospel to new generations.

Winds of new attitude
This editor has had the privilege of helping to produce the “Authentic Space” videos in the conference studio. One thing stands out, and that is a congenial attitude. It is more of a “come now, let us reason together” attitude, and we ought not ignore that change to the detriment of our future. In some of the dialogues of the past it has been a posture of honest questions colliding with strong walls of defense, and new generations have walked away.

So it’s time to build windmills rather than walls. These are new and good winds for us to harness in our quest to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

It is our hope that we will give energy to the media being produced. Our future as a church depends on our attention to a young generation simply asking for a place at the table, at the altar, in the aisle, in the planning session, and every other corner of the church.

JW 

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