Friday, June 04, 2004

"Church Music" - Part IV... our kids

I grew up, primarily, in the 70's and I really don't remember this being a big deal then. Yes, it was discussed, and yes, even then the Churches of Christ were distinguished by (among other things) that fact that we didn't have any instruments in our worship service (or our buildings). The difference between then and now is that, then we looked at the whole Instrumental Music in worship "thing" as insignificant. The kids of my day were not talking about it and our worship services (practically ALL of them throughout the mainstream Churches of Christ) were the same. It wasn't an issue because we all understood what was "right and good".

One BIG change between now and then (from my view in the cheap seats) is that our kids talk with other kids about Church, God, Religion and the Bible MUCH MORE than we did. They invite their friends to devotionals and teen outings like crazy. When I was a kid is was all well and good for US to invite THEM to OUR outings, but forget about going to THEIRS (why would we do that?). So, over the years, the youth of our faith have become more and more...accepting of other faiths.

Why? It's simple, their FRIENDS are from other faiths. We used to have our "Church friends" (those kids from OUR Church) and our "Other friends", which we did not mix together (at least not very often). Youth (and what you call "youth" can very GREATLY) look at all of their friends as one big unit and they cherish their friends that go to other Churches and regard them very highly. Why? Because they can be very good people!

So now, they are exposed to different views of their faith from a very early age and those differences are not keeping them up at night. Their discussions about spiritual things often take them down the same paths...they don't get caught up in the details.

Their friend (Chris, we will call him) is a Christian too! Even though they play guitars in their worship service and might have women preachers. Even though Chris doesn't go to the "Church of Christ" he is still a Christian. Why? "How can't he be? He believes the same things that I do, he just does a few things different. He has the same moral values that I do (sometimes higher). He is just as active in his Church as I am, and I enjoy worshipping with him (the few times I have gone) and he enjoys worshipping with me."

The youth of our faith are more accepting than we are or were when we were their age. That could be a big factor in why they are pushing our Church to update and try new things because they are being exposed those things and their positive impact on personal spirituality. Simply put, their world is bigger and the bounds of their Christianity are too. Singing with musical accompaniment isn't a big deal, they hear the arguments against it and they may even nod their head with understanding, but they also see the positive impact that their friends (their Christian friends that don't go to a Church of Christ) have on them. Furthermore, they can't believe that their friends are going to hell, they are strong Christians, so what if they sing with instruments!

Then we are surprised when they pull back from our faith and become "rebellious" when they are given a very rigid view of Christianity, one that excludes these people they look up to.

More later...

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"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18