If we only forward the easy, short and funny things we read online, why are we surprised that our inbox is filled with nothing we’ll remember tomorrow?

What would happened if instead, we shared the most complex, useful and thoughtful things we discovered instead?  (Seth Godin, “Short and funny.” Oct 26, 2019)

One of my favorite movie quotes is, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller uttered that philosophical musing in the “pager culture” long before cell phones, the Internet, and smart phones existed.  Having an answering machine at home was a statement about one’s affluence and “fad culture” as much as not wanting to miss a call. Thus began analogue FOMO: fear of missing out.  Some things in our culture and the institutions that have helped us form an identity, worldview, and social relationships have changed, are changing, rapidly, almost without thought or as a reaction to external forces beyond our control (maybe even our understanding).  It can be exciting, necessary, frightening, confusing, and disappointing

The Church universal and your congregation is caught up in, and effected by, all this speedy change.  Some of this change is long overdue as Christianity expands its theology and structures to be more than undergirding the Empire of the day, or doing the charity work that maintains the systems that distress and oppress.  Much of the change as needed.  Some change is reactionary, rightly or wrongly, to the speed of #hashtag culture and the consumerism that is driving participating in congregational life deeper into the “if it feels good do it” chant from the 1960’s.  Just like when you grew up and I grew up, the children and youth in our care are caught up in this web. We had different distractions, rebellions, dangers, safety nets, and role models.  But, when you listen past the noise I don’t think the foundational needs of adolescents, children, and families haven’t changed that much.  Please pardon the generalization, but belonging, love, compassion, shelter, clothing, water, self determination, developing a moral compass, education, and identity remain central to humanity in every context.

What is the good news of God that you or your congregation can be a witness of or bring into existence for the complex lives of families or kids today?

How is the way of Jesus a path less traveled, counter-cultural, and relevant in the religious consumerism of  “if it feels good do it” time such as ours?

One of the best stories I know about the complex, useful, and thoughtful things that I’ve discovered during my time serving in Christian ministry is from Tales of a Magic Monastery (1994).

I had just one desire–to give myself completely to God.  So I headed for the monastery.  An old monk asked me, “What is it you want?”

I said, “I just want to give myself to God.”  I expected him to be gentle, fatherly, but he shouted at me, “NOW!”  I was stunned.  He shouted again, “NOW!” Then he reached for a club and came after me.  I turned and ran. He kept coming after me, brandishing his club and shouting, “Now, Now.”

That was years ago.  He still follows me, wherever I go.  Always that stick and always the “NOW!”

Maybe, the very best we can do right now, if ever, is to continue to plant the “NOW!” memories that somewhere, out there, bloom.