Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Emerging Dad? Nah!

We had a nice visit with my parents this weekend.

Dad and I had an interesting visit about church stuff. He was an elder in his denomination most of my life.

Actually we were talking about clothes and not dressing up very often anymore. He is a retired accountant, so he doesn't dress up as often as he used to. (Although my mom irons his blue jeans!)

He is the treasurer for the regional meeting of his denomination which is mostly pastors. I mentioned that he probably still dresses up for those meetings.

He remarked that they had become more casual and commented about one young pastor who wears a knit cap during their meetings. This completely blew my image of their denomination.

This is what I pictured their meetings looking like.

Not this. Dad explained that this guy is the pastor of a church plant that is "a little different." My ears were perked. I started grilling him about the church, how the denomination felt about it, and his own personal feelings about it.

This church had a second anniversary celebration recently that Dad and Mom attended.

"So, what was it like?"
"Well, we didn't really fit in there. It was different than what we're used to."
"Different? Like how?"
"It was evening, and they didn't turn the lights on. So it was pretty dark, and they just had candles lit everywhere. They had a band in front, and the band got pretty wild a couple of times."

For some reason I had never imagined my parents attending an emergent-type gathering.

Anyway, I was impressed that he wasn't really critical, he just couldn't relate. In fact, he said this young pastor seemed to be sincere and had a good heart.

I quizzed him a little more about changes in the denomination and other "non-typical" church plants trying to get a feel for where they stood with postmodern, emerging ideas.

He nevered mentioned the "e" word.
The only adjective he seemed to know to describe it was contemporary.

It was interesting hearing his point of view, realizing that the emerging conversation isn't necessarily relevant to him, and that's okay.


Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

And this is why, at my current post on advice for new comers, to avoid the cathc phrases whenever possible. Great story!


Cindy said...

very cool, Grace.

Pam Hogeweide said...

Where can I get a hat like that?

How wonderful to get the insights of someone who has served Jesus and the church for so many years, and that he happens to be your dad.

The generations need each other, don't we?

I have wondered if it's healthy for a single church body to be predominantly one generation. It seems lopsided to me if a church is full of mostly senior citizens or likewise, twenty-somethings. The kingdom of God is intergenerational. I know that each generation will have preferences in music style and "how to do church". What is interesting for me to think about is how to bring the old and young together in unity in spite of the generation gap. There is no gap in the kingdom of God. Didn't Joel prophesy about the people of God, male and female, young and old, moving together in the power of the Spirit? Now how would that look like in a post-modern church plant in America?

Most of my church experiences have not benefitted from the wisdom and experience of those in their golden years. I can count on one hand how many gray-haired folk have been a part of my spiritual journey. Is that ok? Does it matter?

Well, I hope that as I become a gray-haired woman that I will not avoid the new-fangled music or crazy young people and their new ideas. I hope I will be open hearted and open minded like your dad is Grace.

Robbymac said...

Actually, it was my dad who recommended that I read "A New Kind of Christian" by Brian McLaren, at a time when my first response was "Brian who"?

That was before I realized that emerging-types have to read the right books in order to be considered truly emerging (tongue firmly planted in cheek on that comment).

My dad (at 67) is on the leadership team for a postmodern church-plant called Tapestry. No bad for a retired accountant, eh?

Jen said...

My parents are 45 years old and I have found them drawn to the emergent thinking and enjoying the worship/community of emergent churches in our area. I think deep down we are all looking for something real, somewhere we connect, and somewhere we can survive...
Great blog Grace, thanks for sharing!

grace said...

I agree Jamie that sometimes the catch phrases can be a hindrance.

Welcome back Cindy. Hope you had a nice break.

Pam, I think it's great to be as multi-generational as possible. But realistically, I know that I want something different from church than what my parents want. Perhaps acceptance of differences but acknowledging the validity of one another is equally as important.

Wow Robby. It sounds like you have a really cool dad. I checked out the website. It looks interesting. I'm assuming it's in Canada somewhere?

Jen, it's nice to meet you. Yes many "older people" like your parents are drawn to the emerging conversation.

I liked your comment about all of us looking for something real. That is so true.

Robbymac said...

Ouch, Jen, I think I'm only a couple of years younger than your parents! :)

But your assessment of your parents is pretty much how my parents are approaching their postmodern church plant as well.

My 95-year-old grandma once said, "I've been a Christian for 70+ years -- my faith is pretty secure. We need to make church a place for the young people who are at risk."

Maybe that's where I get my "eccelesiastical anarchist" leanings from!!


Yes, my dad definitely rocks the house, and yes, that church is in Canada, about 30 miles west of Toronto. Kevin Loten, the lead pastor, was once upon a time a teenager that I took out for breakfast for three years straight. Now Kevin is a 30-something church-planter and I'm definitely feeling old.

Time for my warm milk and beddy-time snack...