When a renewal movement hits the church, things are bound to get messy. Some of the mess is the work of the Holy Spirit as he reanimates dry bones. Some of the mess comes when a bunch of broken human beings try to touch, help, hinder, or profit from the beautiful chaos. We’re a generation removed from the Jesus Movement of the late 1960′s. Poll after poll tells us that Evangelicalism, the primary beneficiary of this Movement, is having an identity crisis. Our children aren’t sticking around in our churches – and neither are many of us. We are known in caricature for our culture warring and mean-girl ways. Jesus is our brand, not our Lord. (Certainly not all of us fall into this category, of course. I’ve known lots of generous, forgiving, faithful Evangelical saints who reflect the love of Jesus through their words and works.)
The Church is in a state of transition in the West, though in the global South and East, she is growing like fruit-bearing kudzu. This transition here is an opportunity for a bit of spiritual housecleaning in the wake of the hippie-flavored chaos of a generation ago. Part of that housecleaning might perhaps create some space for reflection on the unintended consequences of some of our choices and desires. We reap what we sow.
To that end, I’m launching an occasional series in this space called The Jesus Movement’s Unintended Consequences. While some of these topics have been the subject of books and studies, I’m simply lobbing a few observations out there for all of us to consider as we grapple with where we’ve been so we can see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly….
(If you lived through the `70′s or like Broadway musicals, you know the next words in this sentence. For the rest of you reading this, the next words are “day by day“. Tambourine optional.) [Read more]