My 10 year old self had a dedicated routine on Saturday mornings, provided I did not have an early soccer game. I would wake up, pour myself a bowl of cereal, and sit down to watch Inspector Gadget. The inspector came on every Saturday morning at 8 AM (what can I say, I was an early riser). Saturday after Saturday, this was my beloved and cherished routine; until one Saturday morning it was not. You see, a new cartoon suddenly appeared on my screen one Saturday at 8 AM. The good inspector had been moved to a different time slot and soon disappeared all together. How could this be? I mean, I always watched the same show on Saturday morning at the same time.
This post may only be interesting to those who are in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and perhaps not even that interesting to those folks. Our General Assembly begins this weekend, which is our gathering open to all Disciples in the United States and Canada (as well as other places). Registration numbers are lower than expected and so cue up the “death of the church” chorus. I’m not sure any of us should be surprised by this as long as we have been paying attention. While its troubling, it seems to be a trend. Many large convention type gatherings are declining not only in expressions of the church, but in the corporate world as well. We are more into connection than we are into institution these days in all phases of life. In the Christian world people are far less interested in institutional maintenance than they are in sharing the news of Christ’s love for all people as well as making a recognizable difference in people’s lives and in their community.
I do believe something beautiful is emerging in all expressions of Christ’s church, even for denominational type gatherings. I believe our leaders are aware of this and seeking to move us toward this. For an excellent read on our General Assembly, I recommend checking out my colleague Ryan Motter’s blog at http://bit.ly/1DgSVwr. I am attending the Assembly and I am looking forward to being with friends that nourish and enrich my life. I like seeing the many of expressions of the body of Christ that gather together. I also share many of the same concerns that Ryan shares in his blog around our gathering.
Chances are the way we gather and the focus of our gatherings will change. I trust that something new, beautiful, and more life-giving will emerge. Why do I trust? Because change is what God does. God always moves us forward, not back. God is not concerned so much with what is behind us, instead God is looking to what is in front of us. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus tells us to trust this narrative. There is always something more life-giving in front of us.
The new show that came on at 8 AM on Saturdays was called Transformers. I call it my favorite cartoon of all time and I’ve seen all four movies. More often than not, change is not only good, but is the catalyst for true life.