Church, the next generation…

A venerable East Texas pastor, with whom I am well acquainted, bought me lunch a couple days ago. But before the waitress brought our drinks he was already lamenting the dearth of young people at his church.

“I can’t figure this generation out,” he said. “We’ve tried programs and different outreaches but nothing’s working.”

He went on to describe a cyclical occurrence whereupon his congregation would see an influx of singles, couples, or young families show up during a holiday or following a special church event…  only to see them moving elsewhere after less than a month’s time.

But the phenomenon is not limited to this minister’s fold, nor is it merely isolated to our region. This is the causal outworking of numerous ideological and theological shifts that have occurred in the West from the latter half of the 20th Century until now.

This newest generation to come into adulthood: the “Millennials” (born roughly between 1980 and the early 1990s) are participating in religion in different ways than even their generational predecessors: “Generation X” (born from about 1965 through the late 1970s) of which I find myself a part.

A recent study published by the Pew Research Center has found that most Millennials are religiously adrift, vaguely Christian in belief and barely Christian in practice. Subsequently, most of these who describe themselves as “active and committed to their faith” often feel isolated in an increasingly outmoded Christian culture.
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the Earth neither lags nor hastens

Earth Day was started on April 22, 1970, designated as a day to “inspire appreciation” and “raise awareness” for the Earth’s environment.

It was founded by a liberal U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and an environmental activist from Washington state. Yeah, I’m sure that’s going to get some eyeballs rolling.

Though I wryly claim the political mantle of “radical moderate” it’s certainly well known that I generally approach many socio-political issues from a more conservative perspective than not.

As such, you probably won’t find me at the forefront of many leftist causes. I believe babies should be protected and murderers should be punished, not the other way around.

However, even as a landowning born-again Southerner who voted for George W. Bush (twice!), I don’t see why a day set aside to consider how the Earth may be better preserved need be dismissed out of hand.

Surely the land should be seen as precious to all, irrespective of where you stand along the political spectrum. Surely.

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“Whose likeness and inscription is this?”

So here we are again, another dreaded income tax deadline is upon us.

I imagine that accountants throughout East Texas and the United States are preparing for the mad rush of paperwork that accompanies the deadline for income tax filings.

As I scan through local, state and national news reports this time of year, I’ve noticed a curious striation of the sentiments expressed by citizens. Not only about the deadline but the concept of the income tax itself.

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Methinks thou doth protest too much…

I came home from work one evening to have my wife mention off-hand, “I got our census form done.”

As my thoughts were distracted by the excited overtures of my four children, whom were each clamoring for my attentions and affections, I responded with only a mumbling assent.

For a man who spends the better part of his day sorting out picayune details of the affairs of his local community, avoiding this trifling bit of miscellanea was fine with me.

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No rest for the Wicked

“…when I say: ‘My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint,’ then You scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I would choose strangling and death rather than my bones…”

My sleeping hours are often haunted by visions of horrors that torment me well into my waking hours.

Would that they were mere specters of overworked sensibilities or even an overwrought imagination, I would have more peace than I do.

But the horrifying truth is that they are composed very little of my own imagining, and consist of more actuality than I can bear to tell.

There is such a painful solitude in this. I dare not speak of what I have seen and continue to behold nightly…  that, plague-like, the very conception of such miseries would infect a mind unclouded by this tempest.

O, for a quiet night in silent and dreamless repose!

O, the evil that mankind doth perform upon itself!


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This is where we are right now…

“…although you hide in the ebb and flow of the pale tide when the moon has set, the people of coming days will know about the casting out of my net…”

I am writing this in the front room of my house, it is a warm evening in East Texas as I stand astride the months of March and April.

Glancing about me, I see a house half-packed and stacks of boxes lining the front wall. As the brisk Winter has warmed into early Spring, my household is preparing for the long Summertime and all that this new season will bring.

This is where we are right now.
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