One of the major reasons my blog has mellowed out and I don’t post hardly ever anymore, and when I do, its usually just a link to a youtube video, is that I’ve been attending a different congregation for I don’t know exactly how long, a year, maybe a little more, and its a congregation of largely older people, using traditional hymns with nobody making trouble trying to introduce contemporary bullcrap music. And as a result, my engagement with neo-Calvinism in the real world has dropped to nearly absolute zero, and what’s the point of fighting something on the Internet that you don’t have to deal with in real life anymore?
Not everyone is old. I’m in my 30s, and there are few people there in their 20s, but the bulk of the congregation is my parents’ age or older. There are no little kids, no teenagers.
I don’t endorse the theology over at Internetmonk, and I hardly go over to that blog anymore because most of what its about is pushing acceptance of homosexuality, but there is one issue on which I do agree with the guys over there, and its highlighted in this article What about THIS “cutting edge”? bemoaning how the seeker-sensitive and mega-church culture caters to teenagers, and asking the question why there is no such outreach to the elderly. From the end of the article:
What does it mean to follow Jesus in the late autumn and winter of our lives?
And why don’t churches seem to care?
iMonk has run a lot of articles over the years about how they feel more liturgical churches are more mature or focused towards the more mature, or the older, those who’ve escaped the teens and twenties. That may be the case. I’ve never thought of my church as “liturgical.” Its not like the Anglican church, for instance, since there are no priests, no clergy, certainly no male clergy wearing dresses, no candles, no eucharistic adoration, etc. etc. But I guess in a way it is “liturgical” in that every service proceeds the same way. We’re not clamoring to “shake it up” by moving the constituent elements of the service around, or changing the style of music, etc. Its always the same. And there is something very grounding about that.
Before, when I was in a church filled to the brim with teenagers — well, really, there were probably only about 5 actual teenagers and then 5 adults who thought they were teenagers — there was constant trouble, both in wanting to constantly change the music style, AND in theology, i.e. the incursion of Calvinism coming in from those “hip” new books written by the “hip” and “happening” Calvinist pastors.
In an older church, where people admit to being their age, there is less likelyhood of such nonsense. Really the whole nonsense can’t be blamed on teenagers or twenty-somethings themselves, because its the adult teenagers, the guys in their 50s who want to believe they’re sixteen, that push the trouble. Now in my context, we’re not even talking rock music, because the theology of the “denomination” bans instrumental music from the services altogether, so we’re just talking contemporary “worship” music meant to be accompanied by piano and guitar that’s been modified to be sung without them (you can imagine how well that works). But do you really think if a teenager tried to change the way the church works with respect to music, they could? without the adults who refuse to admit their own age siding with them? Of course not.
There is, therefore, a great gift in finding a church full of old people. Like is said in Proverbs somewhere, “He who finds a good wife finds a gift from the Lord.” How much moreso, he who finds a church of older people finds a gift from the Lord!!!!! Because he can have a peaceful experience such as was had in days gone by. He can metaphorically sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, rather than having to constantly fight with Philistines of the church music incursions or of neo-Calvinism.
PS: You can see from the comments on that article at iMonk that people largely think of church as a business that has to “market” distinctly to different age-demographics. And I will address that in my next post.