Posted by: pastordarren | October 16, 2013

The Changing Cycles of Life and Living

20130917_084109I can vividly remember when growing up, going with my parents to these new video stores to rent a VHS movie AND the Video Cassette Player, spending $25-30 to watch a movie that the top quarter of the screen was messed up because we could never get the tracking just right.  It soon became that the rental came down in price, stores got rid of the machines because people were buying their own and video stores sprang upon every corner and in most strip malls.

Then the transition to DVDs happened, which got rid of the tracking issues, but whether or not you purchased or rented, had to have new machines to play the DVDs and replace the tapes that you had at home.  For a little while you could get both technologies together but it did not last long.  With the advent of HD TVs, we moved to Blu Ray discs which required a new way of playing them, although the Blu Ray players could play the DVDs.  We still had rental stores that also included video game rentals for most  of the systems.

We are in the middle of another transition, from the Blu Ray to streaming our movies, TV shows and even our games.  With the advent of services such has Netflix and Hulu, we can get on demand almost anything we want in HD any time that is convenient for us.  With the streaming happening the video stores are on their way out.  The picture with this post is of the last Blockbuster closing in our area.  There is no longer a demand for the rentals when we can stream and we don’t even have to go out to get the movies.  In short, we still have our movies and entertainment, yet we have changed the way in which we receive the material, share it, and enjoy it.  In other words, can can stream Star Wars on my big screen TV, put in one of several versions on DVD, or if I can find a working player, put in a VHS copy (and still deal with tracking).  Basically the same movie viewed in different ways.

When I saw the store closing and snapped the picture, I began to think about these transitions and how it is not just related to the video industry but to our lives as a whole, including the church.

I came across the following quote the other day, that even though is 150+ years old, speaks to our lives today:

“The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disentrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
–Abraham Lincoln, Message to Congress, December 1, 1862

How often do we try to deal with the problems and situations of our current, daily life, with ways and means that are not appropriate for what we are living in.  As the video industry changed over the years, we gained things and we lost  things.  Some people maybe upset that they can’t go to the store and rent a tape or DVD, yet we are adapting to the new technology and opportunities that streaming affords.

In what ways are we trying to address issues in our community with past resources?

In what ways are we trying to address issues in our government with past methods and models?

In what ways are we trying to address issues in our churches with past mindsets and practices?

The issues in our churches is what hits home for me.  I believe that those who hold the faith and strive to grow and live it truly want to do so.  That doesn’t mean that we have to do things the same way or that holding on to the things of the past will engage the culture of today.  In other words, the ways in which we live out our faith, structure and live as a local, regional, and national church will be different from even 15-20 years ago.  Those practices and disciplines will draw from the past, such as the Spiritual Disciplines that have been part of the Christian life for hundreds of years, yet the way in which they are practiced are new.  There will also be things that we may have to leave behind and find new ways of living, structuring , and engaging that are more suited for today.

I believe that each person and each church will need to find that way and it begins by carefully looking inside at who they are and the culture around them.  Then finding new ways to address where they are and incorporating people into the Body so they can grow and express their faith too.

What do you think?  Where are areas where new ways of thinking and doing are needed and what might some of them be?

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