Friday, June 25, 2010

The Christian, The Church, The Culture

Part 1

Some further thoughts on how the combination of cultural and spiritual influences work inside the Christian's heart.

There are no cultural institutions or rhythms in our world that encourage church attendance.

It used to be that weekends were different. Businesses closed. People didn’t travel as easily. More families were raised with a sense of Sabbath. Kid’s extra-curricular activities were not scheduled on the weekends. And so forth. Instead of a weekly rhythm that at the least encouraged rest on the weekend and at most made space for church attendance, we are now immersed in a hurried 24-7 whirlwind of activity. Nothing closes…ever. And if we find a store closed in the evenings and on weekends, we are shocked and dismayed. Nothing can be scheduled in the middle of the week anymore, so more and more of our activities happen on the weekend. Making it worse, because we are so booked throughout the week and most weekends, we are tempted to take as many Sundays off as possible. For people living in the beautiful state of Colorado, that means – get outdoors and stay there!

As a result, the normal rhythms of our lives make it hard to stop and do something a little out of the ordinary – sit in one room and engage in worship for a couple of hours. (Forget attending 3 times a week.) As a result, the decision to attend a church service is exactly that – a decision. It doesn’t just “fit” into our normal schedules. And it isn’t something that “just happens.” If church life is to become a regular and healthy part of our lives, it has to become a scheduling priority.

Do you put church in our smart phone calendar like you do your lunch appointments? It may sound crass to do that, but when was the last time you missed a lunch appointment? Because the patterns of the weekly lives we lead don’t make church a priority, we need to do that. We need to put it into our rhythms and activities. And without paying attention to a detail like what we do with ourselves and church once a week (more than that?), we will succumb to the secularized patters of life.

If the patterns of life we are subject to are radically secularized, we are responsible to put the sacred back in its rightful place.

That includes the daily spiritual disciplines, our spiritual friendships and deepening our moment-by-moment walk with God, and it certainly includes the family of God.


Becky said...

What a great article... one I really needed today. You are exactly correct. As I read your article I couldn't stop thinking about a book I just recently read titled, "The Gathering" by Ray Barnett. I found the book a good one... It shows, from Scripture, the way to recover the church’s roots, and to once again become an effective community of men and women, bound by love for Christ and each other.

Phil Steiger said...