When I was growing up it was no big deal to say you were Christian.
Everyone I knew said that.
And, Christianity was easy.
It meant showing up for worship at 11:00 on a Sunday morning.
And, maybe showing up or helping out your church in some other way.
Everyone I knew did that.
It is not like that now.
Far from it.
Now there are more people not here than are here.
Maybe even more people who say they are not Christian than readily and openly admit they are.
More and more, it seems…
To show up on a Sunday morning for worship;
To be a part of an intentional community which gathers;
To invest time and energy and something of self to feed those who are hungry or to shelter those who have no place be or to speak up on behalf of those who have no little or no voice;
To make a conscience decision to set aside some portion of your income for something more than household bills or personal use;
All because of what you believe or the values that grow out of your faith tradition is an intentional decision; a counter-cultural decision in a way it has not been for a VERY long time.
In many ways this shift from then to now is hard for us for whom church has been an important part of our lives for nearly everything about who we are and how we do what we do is based on a way of being that is no longer the norm and no longer understood or valued or accepted by the larger community.
But, if we can begin to let go of what was
(which, if we are honest, was often more cultural than Christian);
If we can to begin to find a new way…
And, if we can do it well…
What emerges might be a powerful and important witness for the deepest and best values to which we, as human beings, can aspire.
Values which are desperately needed if we are ever going to find a way to live together.