Intentional, Interstitial, and Invisible Spiritual Lives

I love this article by Daniel Pink.  It has everything to do with Church today – or more authentically – with 21st Century spiritual lives.

Dan Pink notes that – in his family – there are certain television programs that warrant carving out space to watch in real time:  the finale of The Americans, for example, and Better Call Saul.  There are other shows he likes but he watches them on his phone.  Or waiting for the dishwasher cycle to end.

The last television show that our family Stopped Everything For was Lost.  We ate island food every Wednesday night and even after FBC went to college, we had a family conference call to discuss the deeper meaning of Desmond’s visions or Charlie’s good-bye.  (Not Penny’s Boat!)  The finale fell on OBC’s birthday and we had an island cake with a crashed jet that caught on fire with the candles.  It was epic even if the finale was a disappointment.

So – connecting all this to our spiritual lives:

  • There are many people for whom Church is an interstitial activity.  It fills that space between one’s everyday, workaday world filled with chores and deadlines with a holier world of sermons and hymns and pews.  It’s what we do on Sundays.  And we will do it until we die – but maybe – if we are honest, we don’t want to think making disciples of all nations.  We just really hope we are going to heaven after all this.
  • There are many more people for whom Church is invisible. If I ask a random person on Main Street where the Methodist Church is or where I can find a Lutheran Church, most people in Hometown, America will not have any idea.  My local NPR station aired this program yesterday about the changing landscape of religion in North Carolina (my new home and a longtime notch on the Bible Belt.)  More than half of all Baby Boomers are unaffiliated in the U.S. now.  And this is even more true for Gen X-ers.  And even more true for Millennials.  And even more true of Generation Z.  And yet, the majority of these generations believe in God/a Higher Power.  Traditional church doesn’t do it for more than half of America these days.  [Note to my people:  so what are we going to do about it?]
  • There are many of us who are very intentional about our spiritual lives.  It’s appointment-worthy.  It’s holy.  It’s meaningful.  It connects them to each other and to something bigger.  They don’t want to miss it – with “it” being anything from a weekly worship time to a Bible study to Monday night community dinners to – even – a church meeting to talk about how we might help our neighbors.  We feel empty without it.

Dan Pink writes:

What’s more valuable is getting me to intend—to plan, to identify a block of time, and to summon a spouse or a friend. And that, in turn, changes the way creators ought to think about their creations. 

I hope we who lead spiritual communities/churches/temples are noting this.

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