Friday, March 09, 2007
More Free II
As parents, we want to do a good job raising our kids. It’s very easy to set boundaries and rules for children to follow. They need structure and guidelines to help their progress toward maturity. But as my wife and I have found, there is a continual relaxing of those very rules as a child gets older. The reason being we want them to make their own decisions. We have not succeeded as parents if by age 18 we are still telling our kids what to wear and what to do. The Church of the Future will need to understand and embrace this idea as it interacts with its surrounding culture. There is no longer any kind of common morality between the Church as We Know It and our society at large. If playing by the rules is the starting point for the conversation, the Church as We Know It is not going to find many people with which to speak. Instead, the Church of the Future will have the ability to walk along side and wait, just as in the story of the Prodigal Son. I call it the “Eat until you’re hungry” approach. The son was clamoring for his freedom, and the father willingly gave it to him, and even saw fit to fund it as we. The father knew that there was no way the son would ever understand how good he had it until he set him free to do whatever he pleased. He sent him out to get his fill, to eat and eat and eat until he got hungry. His freedom led to an epiphany; his life is going nowhere. And it took unbridled freedom for him to find that out. Freedom to do ill as well as freedom to change. The Church of the Future will adopt this kind of fatherly role. Instead of being frantic that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, it will stand secure in what it believes without trying to force or manipulate others to change, but instead being ready to love, willing to forgive, and thus proving the faith it holds dear.