from the book "new monasticism":
We cannot overlook the fact that America's loneliness stems from an economy that demands our allegiance when it comes to where we live. We often acknowledge, sometimes with a hint of pride, that ours is a mobile society. Middle-class people in our culture feel free to relocate almost anywhere for a good education or a better job. But we ultimately do not experience this as freedom. Without people who know us well, we feel alone. At most we hope to spend our adult life with the person we marry, but even marriage doesn't seem to last very well without the context of community. Divorce is no longer a tragedy but rather an expected heartache for the lonely traveler.
In such a culture of divorce, small groups and storytelling will not be enough to root us in the reality of the people of God. Churches will also have to call people into higher-commitment membership. We have to find ways to get people to stick around. Maybe the only way to do that is to ask people to pledge their allegiance to the church. Of course, the minute you start talking about allegiance to a particular community, people in America worry that you're becoming a cult. Allegiance to the nation is normal. Allegiance to one's family is understandable. But allegiance to a church? That makes people nervous.
But if pledging our allegiance is a way of saying who we are and where we're going, then Christians have to pledge ourselves to the people of God. If our home is in God's kingdom, we cannot pledge our ultimate allegiance to America. If God is our Father, the nuclear family cannot be our god. Instead, we've got to say that our primary commitment is to the church. But for those words to have any real meaning, churches will have to get serious about membership. We need to name our commitments to each other and develop a process to determine whether God is calling an individual to leave our community or whether the forces of the economy are simply tearing us apart. If God's plan is to save the world through a holy people, it makes sense that the devil would want to separate us. But we cannot be deceived by the devil's schemes. We should know better. After all, all those you's in our Bible are ya'lls.
speaking of the economy, chris posted a really interesting video the other day--this was my favorite quote from it:
You cannot carry on forever squeezing the productive bit of the economy in order to fun the unprecedented engorgement of the unproductive bit. You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt.
--Member of European Parliament Daniel Hannan
have a good palm sunday.