St. David & St. Martin Presbyterian Church
Relevant people, relevant worship
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New Reformation (Spring 2014)
not supporting Christian Churches as they did seventy years ago. During the baby boom (1946 and 1964) new
housing surveys always included plans for several churches. Costs were easily met by volunteer giving and
people not supporting a church were oddities.
Even when housing developments were planned to house Canadian Armed
Forces families, those communities built two large chapels (Protestant and
Roman Catholic) at public expense. This
was normal in an age gone by.
Positive life-enhancing passionate sexual relations that Canadians are today increasingly free to practice without shame are inconsistent with the narrow morally driven top-down expectations of many religious institutions. There is an enormous inconsistency between the lived experiences of those practicing well-informed healthy sexuality and that which is addressed in the churches. The silence or condemnations by the church in regard to erotica, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, common-law living, homosexuality, sexual life outside marriage, safe sex practices, and so on offers little value to most young couples. Outside the dictates of religious rigidities and silence many couples are experiencing a wondrous guilt free enlightened healthy sexuality, where the dualism of eros and agape no longer exist. Many people often report (rightfully) that their religious institutions were sources of great pain due to closed-mindedness, ignorance, arrogance, rejection, failure to understand, and active suppression. When you add to that the inexcusable abuse of minors by persons of trust in the church, how can anyone be surprised that public trust of the church has weakened?
The lived experience of Generation X (plus) includes witness to violence perpetrated apparently in the name of religion or by countries deeply influenced by religion. In Christian dominated Europe, during the last century, perpetuating imperial male-dominated power often appeared more evident than justice and liberation. The violence between the west and east, the troubles in Ireland, the violent breakup of Yugoslavia and other world conflicts feed a perception that the church is hypocritical. The lived experience strongly suggests that religious structures and beliefs have been major contributions to the mayhem on earth.
The lack of church support from Generation X plus may be fed by the difference between their lived experiences and the institutions perpetuating imperialistic, patriarchal power structures and dry obsolete theology. Mass numbers of those generations have radically reconsidered their spiritual practices and what will emerge has yet to be seen. Maybe this exit is a spiritual restlessness amongst people seeking the mystical elsewhere because there is a felt sense that it can no longer be found in the conventional church. From that perspective, this could be a major re-formation as radical as that of 1517 under Martin Luther. Our lament at the beginning of this re-formation may yet become a celebration. If it is not too late, let the church hear the voice of a new re-formation in our time.
George Zimmerman, Captain (Navy) retired
Published courtesy of Manor Park Chronicle
|St. David & St. Martin is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.|