life in eden changed

I’ve been mulling around some thoughts about millenials lately.  It’s been dominating conversations I’ve been having recently and has therefore been taking up some headspace.
I’ve also been watching a lot of Aaron Sorkin TV shows (namely The West Wing). It’s almost created a post or two about why I’m so drawn to these show and how I feel about millenials.  

And then I read this blog post.
Rachel Held Evans has done it again.  Taken the very same conversation that has been on my mind and written a lovely blog about it.
I agree with almost everything she says in this post.  I see my friends retweet and share it on Facebook and I have hope that this conversation can hopefully spark some change.
It seems as though I’ve been wading water recently. I feel stuck in the in-between.  I have graduated, received that little piece of paper that says that I am “trained” to be a pastor.  I’ve met with leaders of our denomination who have encouraged me and affirmed my gifts and my call.  I’ve put in the time, done the internships.
And now I wait.  Wait for a call.  Wait for what my life will look like moving forward.
And this in-between time has allowed my mind to wander.  I’ve finally allowed myself to dream about what my ministry could look like.  The excitement of starting something new comes in waves these days.  A new area to explore, a new congregation’s worth of stories to hear, a new set of people to explore the Story with.  It’s exciting.
I’ve been watching Season 6 of The West Wing. And once again I’m struck by the inspiration that the characters just seem to ooze.  I see the glimmer of this excitement in Josh Lyman’s eye when he starts to think about who should be President next.  I see that glimmer as he convinces his candidate to run, saying that together they could make a difference.
But then they start the campaign and simultaneously they start to fight.  Because they don’t see the country in the same way, they don’t know how to do what they want to do together.  They have these yelling matches in which you can feel the tension between them.  And it reminds me of the church.
You see, I think millenials are leaving the church for all the reasons that Rachel Held Evans says, but I think there’s more to it.  I think that the touch of entitlement and selfishness of the millenial generation plays into the scenario as well.  We show up and assume that church should look like what we want it to look like and when it doesn’t, we’re out.
We don’t stick around for the fight.  We don’t allow our voices to be heard because we’ve been told again and again that we aren’t the ones in charge.  And I get that, I get the idea that no one is listening to me so why should I stick around.  But the thing is, that some churches are listening, or trying to listen.  Some churches are working on how to make the church deeper and not just wider.
I once heard a talk from Phyllis Tickle, talking about how the older generation needs the younger generation to be able to move the church forward.  But that the younger generation needs the older generation to make sure we don’t move forward at an unsustainable pace.
It’s just like Josh Lyman and his candidate.  Josh needs his candidate’s big dreams because he understands the cries of the people, but the candidate needs Josh’s expertise in how to get there.  And together they can make it happen.
So millenials – please don’t keep leaving.  It may be a hard road to see the change in the Church that we need right now, but it won’t happen if you keep leaving.  I’m not promising it will be easy, it won’t be.  But Jesus didn’t call us to the easy road, he called us to the one that leads to him.
If we keep leaving the church instead of fighting for what we believe is the truth of the gospel, then we prove the writers of Time Magazine right about our generation.  But if we stay and work alongside of those already in the Church, we live up to the best of what Rachel Held Evans is saying about us.

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