Yeast Forces Relationships To Yield To Religion; While Revival Forces Religion To Yield To Relationships
I remember the emotions, conflicts, and circumstances of the 1970’s when our world was being turned upside down and torn apart. (Look at Sunday, July 17th’s blog “Church, the Winds of Change Are Blowing) There was quite an “anti-establishment” movement that swelled on campus during my college days. Speakers challenging “systems” and “structures”, both politically and religiously, were invited on campus to speak. The “social gospel” of its time was the politically correct gospel of what was happening across American, yet there was an underground group of Christians on campus who clung to their faith in Jesus Christ and forged their relationship with Him and God and other “believing” Christians. If history repeats itself, I predict we will see this underground revival movement again.
The attitude of questioning everything was the emphasis of my college freshman orientation, but when I questioned the “institution” of the church and church run college, I met opposition. I was a pacifist because of my beliefs in Jesus, who never showed nor taught violence. Peter, defending what he thought was Jesus’ kingdom, cut off the ear of a guard. To his surprise Jesus immediately replaced and healed the ear. Jesus even taught to “love your enemy; do go to those who despise you.” This view went counter to many students who declared themselves pacifists because of political reasons or moral reasons opposing the War in Viet Nam. It was not popular to be a “Jesus Freak” at that time.
When I challenged the college’s views on “religion”, I had the opportunity to sit down with the President of the college who told me to “sit back for the next four years, change my ideas, and I will be glad I did.” In essence he said my view of faith and relationships was all wrong, and his “institution” would instruct me correctly. At the end of four years I found the religious institution on campus in shambles, spineless, and had its “life” in Jesus Christ diminished. Our campus went from a required chapel format to a volunteer chapel few attended, from a strict dorm code protecting women to 24 hour open house in our dorms promoting “overnight” promiscuity, and from an alcohol prohibition image to full blown drug parties.
My generation became verbal, sometimes even violent for causes that would cause change to our world. Not all changes were good, but we were vocal about what we wanted and demanded. Today’s younger generation is quiet, receptive, and fears being vocal as “institutions” continue to influence and control their lives. They accept this as status quo, just the way it is, rather than challenging it. Thus they accept without questioning health care at an enormous expense to themselves, political bipartisanism that was the “fear” of our founding fathers that stalemates everything politically in their generation, debt from a previous generation, or debt for “college” that no longer promises jobs, an economic CEO pyramidal structures of large, politically and economically powerful corporations that shape their work world, and a world that no longer promises security for when they age. I predict that will all soon change.
There is a “flat world” mentality among this younger generation, seeing the “world” rather than just local, state, or national through relationships. They talk, communicate, blog, tweet, text the world. Those throughout the world have become their “peers” who they “friend” on Facebook, who become an identifiable “huddle” on Google+ according to relationship. Relationships electronically are beginning to be defined by commitment: family, friends, work, acquaintances, or public. When upset, they speak vertically, relationally. Ask the Egyptians about that! They do not have to be “verbal” “in your face” as my generation felt they had to be, they can be “verbal” “electronically” from their bedroom, dorm room, den, coffee shop, any business location offering WiFi. They are a mobile group, and a moving “tweet” on an emotional topic can cause thousands to “repeat” the message to the masses in minutes. Things can happen at a moment’s notice. Change can come rapidly, sometimes almost instantaneously.
The time is ripe, for that is how the Holy Spirit works during revival: instantaneous at a moment’s notice by the Holy Spirit to the masses. I do not know how revival will manifest itself to this younger generation, but I guarantee you that when it does, it will happen swiftly and powerfully because they are a “relational” generation! There is an institutional church in China and an underground church. The institutional church is controlled by structure religiously and secularly; the underground church is fed and led relationally. The government cannot control relationships in their masses. The Chinese government opposes the freedom of expression and passing information that the Internet allows, yet the Chinese Christians are communicating. American Christian churches have become institutions, icons of our supposedly religious freedom, who do not practice tolerance and acceptance even among themselves, but there is a “networking” that is not “institutional” among flat-liners, flat-worlders, flat-breaders, of relationships as peers who are about to arise and challenge the institutions of their day. We are on the edge of revival, the precipice of change, where this generation’s voice will arise verbally through the electronic networking available to them. They are about to do what my generation dreamed of doing: change their world.