SNARKY ATTITUDE ALERT (read on at your own risk):
My daughter, son-in-law, twin 4 year olds and their youngest, a 1 year old, moved to San Francisco from New York City almost a year ago. They have gone to three United Church of Christ (UCC) churches and found no children in the church. None.
It is not easy…. getting three kids age four and under into an SUV on a Sunday morning with a bloodshot eyed, dedicated, loving and lovely father at the wheel who, between work and family, never sleeps. Add to this family photo a devoted, self-employed, mother and advocate with kids in two different schools and a hideous pile of laundry that even a pole-vaulter cannot clear and… and… they arrive at a church with a pastor who wants to talk and talk convincingly for 20 minutes about social issues that my kids walked in the door already believing? And they really (really???) expect my grand children to sit on laps in the sanctuary with a crayon and a graham cracker for an hour? Really? We have had over 2,000 years since Jesus and this is our plan?
My kids are now settling-in on a church that is “on the evangelical side” according to my daughter, but is jammin’ with children and youth. Vitality is visceral. And endless banter about social issues is boring, especially with three kids in your pew with nowhere to go. And so we in the church slowly die from self-inflicted wounds while claiming that we are not the only ones who are bleeding.
Damn! So many, many churches are pathetic! Churches that cannot or will not be renewed should be released. And if my Protestant kids end-up in the much-dreaded-and-maligned evangelical church then it is because we chauffeured them there. And I, for one, wish them well. Any port in a storm…
As a “professional transitional mi ister”, I get it. With a “specialty” of closing churches, I really get it. As a child confirmed in ’71, by a pastor who continued the idea of “children are the future of the church”, with Youth Ministry and Confirmation in the 40s, but only 12 actually confirmed, and once I graduated, I was left out in the cold until I got to “Singles’ Ministry” age and I refused to go to church for a while, I get it. As the settled pastor of primarily rural churches early in my ministry, I did my best for the children…never called them the “future” and got them connected.
Now, I am old, but in forced retirement. And I have to tell you Dwight, my disability is just as ostracizing