The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part LIII
When there is revival, a whole lot of shaking is going on! Things get stirred up; change is imminent. Often with revival comes messy situations with all the stirring. When I cook in our kitchen, I usually make a mess to clean up because there is a whole lot of stirring, a whole lot of shaking, a whole lot of baking. Getting all those different ingredients into the bowl is one challenge, keeping them from spilling out on the counter is another. Only after the stirring comes the baking which solidifies all those different ingredients into one solid object, usually to be consumed.
As a public school teacher, I know that there is a whole lot of shaking and stirring going on, politically, and through educational reform. Facing budget cuts in Pennsylvania, the education system from its State sponsored Universities down to its public schools are facing tough decisions. Teaching, which has been looked upon as a stable profession, is about to get its legs cut out from underneath them. As I said in earlier blogs: Teachers were revered in the ‘70’s because of the space program, respected in the ‘80’s due to Reaganomics, but in the ‘90’s it began to be the scapegoat of our society, being blamed for everything and labeled as failing. That attitude was reinforced at the turn of the century as education was not only to blame, but also looked upon to fix itself. Now in the second decade of this century it is asked to not only take the blame, fix it, but sacrifice for its good while American society itself is unwilling to do the same.
While teaching The Diary of Anne Frank this year, I realized today’s students don’t understand the sacrifice it took at home to support our troops in World War II. They have no idea what a “ration book” is, nor the need for one. We want our Ipods, Ipads, the access of the internet, social networking, and our 72 in. 3D digital TV’s with hundreds of channels for entertainment. Our houses are measured by the number of bathrooms and how many car garage it possesses. Sacrifice? We are supposedly in a “sluggish” economy, yet we still live as if in the boom days of the last century. Americans always want “more”, never satisfied with what they have. We want the new and improved Iphone, video game, software program, or electronic gizmo as soon as it come out. Everything is instant; everything is throw away. How can we understand sacrifice?
We were told by Bush to invest in 401 plans in the Stock Market instead of pension funds before its crash during the last months of his presidency. We are told private health care is better for all, when millions of our own Americans have none and can’t afford any because of low wages. The rich are getting richer, and the Warren Buffets, Bill Gates, and Donald Trumps are idolized as the saviors of our society, living like fat cats as the middle class disappears. These men won’t preach sacrifice, and I am sure they will not practice it either. There is a shaking going on.
I almost feel like a Jeremiah, or other prophets that saw a whole lot of shaking going on in their time, and it did not look favorable, but they spoke out. They usually met ridicule and were not popular with the political movements of their day, but they spoke out. I feel that public education is just a microcosm of American society. The American church also reflects the mores and attitudes of American society. If the pillars of American society are being shaken, then I am sure the pillars of the American church are also feeling it.
So I ask, “How should the American church react to all this shaking, all this stirring, all this cry for change? How much is the Church willing to embrace. Do they want revival to meet the challenges of a changing society? It will take a “total surrender” and a “total breaking” of the believers of Jesus Christ if they are willing to surrender to the Holy Spirits lead and directions during this time of change and challenges.
If industry had to retool to survive the changes in this century, and now education faces a retooling, why does the Church feel it will be exempt? The cry is a cry of a prophet, “prepare ye the way!” Instead of being reactionary, the church must be a “leader” in this change, so let’s face the music and the time, and begin to accept the fact that America’s church needs retooling too!