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“Upon this age, this age endowed with power to wake the moon with footsteps. Upon this fitted age, in its dark hour falls from the sky a meteoric shower of facts, that lie unquestioned, uncombined. Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill is daily spun, but there exists no loom to weave it into fabric.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay


Communication is instant—but divorces context from information (content). We no longer have info scarcity, but info glut. This creates puberty of the mind. We get locked into so much information and the inability to sort that information meaningfully limits our capability to understand. But we are miles from wisdom, the last stage at knowledge, because the internet encourages the opposite of what creates wisdom. On the internet there is no such thing as waiting; there is no such thing as stillness. There is only a constant churning.

Shane Hipps

Flickering Pixels

perceptions of the church as a cultural institution
Perceptions of the Church as a Cultural Institution
  • Doubtless—Intolerant of doubt
  • Elitist—Purveyors of us-them
  • Anti-science—in foundational beliefs
  • Over-protective—bubble effect
  • Shallow—in the teaching of foundational elements
  • Repressive—of differences, particularly lifestyle choices

David Kinnaman, You Lost Me

michael jackson s death
Michael Jackson’s Death
  • Entertainment is more than a diversion from life.
  • People will come to adore the effects technologies can produce.
  • That will be the undoing of our capacity to think.

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

pictures of the future
Pictures of the future
  • Toffler—Future Shock
    • Rapid change that is overwhelming
  • Orwell— 1984
    • Domination by power and structure
  • Huxley—Brave New World
    • Infinite appetite for distraction.
  • What we love can ruin us if we adore the things that can undo our capacity to think.
the juvenilization of american christianity
The Juvenilization of American Christianity
  • Juvenilization—Process by which beliefs, practices, and developmental characteristics of adolescents become accepted as appropriate for adults.

Thomas Bergler


Today, many Americans of all ages not only accept a Christianized version of adolescent narcissism, they often celebrate it as authentic spirituality. God, faith, and the church all exist to help me with my problems.

religion as moralistic therapeutic deism
Religion as moralistic therapeutic deism
  • Moralistic
    • God wants us to be good
    • Religion’s purpose is to help people be good
    • But you can be good without being religious; therefore, religion is an optional tool by those who find it helpful.
  • Therapeutic
    • God and religions are valuable because they help us feel better about our problems.
  • Deism
    • God is always in the background watching and ready to help, but not at the center of our lives.

Christian Smith—National Study of Youth and Religion

the death of the grown up
The Death of the grown-up
  • Where have all the grown-ups gone?
  • A place where it’s difficult to tell the grown-ups from the kids.
  • A landscape where moms who mosh and dads who call themselves “Dude” can no longer set limits on their children.
  • A reality that more people ages 18-49 watch Cartoon Network than CNN.
what about it was ever thus argument
What About “It was ever thus” argument?
  • “The older generation had pretty well ruined the world before passing it on.” (1920 Atlantic Monthly)
  • Morality was still the purview of main stream culture. (Morality defined as decency in relationships and behavior)
roaring twenties doesn t blow traditional society apart
Roaring Twenties doesn’t blow traditional society apart
  • Depression—Wars—Post-war boom
  • Social structure shifts provide space where children can create a peer-based world apart from adults and consequences
  • 1959—Harper’s Magazine, article entitled, “Why Today’s Teen-agers Seem So Different”
  • The essence of adolescents is “role where persons must distinctly see themselves as consumer.”
the 1960 s
The 1960’S
  • Radical egalitarianism —equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunities
  • Radical individualism —the drastic reduction of limits to personal gratification
the world we live in as
The World we Live in as…
  • An abundance of information with little wisdom
  • A reluctance to participate in perceived organized religion
  • I’m not religious, but an alternative vision of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism
  • Stuck in the “in between time” that now is the prime influencer in society and church
  • A world where humanity has been reduced to consumption
biblical glimpses of radical change
Biblical Glimpses of Radical Change

Remind us of what’s at stake and where we start in our response

revelation 21 3 6
Revelation 21:3-6

Back to the Future

  • Inevitabilities of life—death, mourning, pain, and tears
  • God has not abandoned that mess—He’s in the middle of it.
  • God’s initiative to reconcile human tragedy is not in doubt.
deuteronomy 6 1 6
Deuteronomy 6:1-6

We are Not the First to Face Incredible Societal Change

  • Subsequent generations are at risk.
  • You can’t pass on what you don’t possess yourselves.
  • Breakdown of societal structure that supports faith’s continuity and you suffer or reap a harvest of “less than.”
acts 15
Acts 15

A Case Study in Massive Religious Change

  • Shifts in religious centers of influence
  • Leadership conflicts between established and emerging leaders
  • Ethnicity issues connected to theological issues

Response — Theological awareness of what God is up to

  • Behavior that represents God’s eternal expectations are not overlooked
  • Fellowship is key to resolving tensions—transformation of the Gospel is both vertical and horizontal
  • Compromise may not be our challenge as much as non-engagement.