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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hope

Last Tuesday I was in two different churches; one in a small town, and one along side a country road. The town church was Durham Presbyterian, or DPC to use their current short form. The country church was Proton Community of Christ.

Despite their different locations, sizes and denominations, the two churches have much in common. Both have the accoutrements of a traditional church built in an earlier era, such as the gothic windows, the pews, and the raised dais. Both were built in an earlier day when we were not so concerned about such things as access for the handicapped, so both also have steps to deal with. But there was something else that both had in common. In their own way, both had made at least some accommodation to modernity.

On the rostrum of the church in Durham resides ample evidence of a church band. Drums, an electronic keyboard (now carefully covered), and lots of microphone stands were clearly in evidence. While no guitars were left on stage, it was pretty obvious where each guitar player would stand on Sunday morning. Clearly an effort is being made by the worship leaders of this church to match the musical style of choice for modern people under the age of 75. I was impressed!

The little white Proton church is picture postcard perfect. It stands beside a quiet road with its peaceful country cemetery, and a naïve city person might imagine that nothing has changed there in the last one hundred years. That person would be wrong. From the ceiling of this apparently old-fashioned church hangs a modern, digital projector, carefully aimed at the screen that hangs on the front wall. The computer age has arrived!

Somewhere, perhaps someone is reading this blog and sighing. To this imagined person, the presence of such modern tools in these lovely, traditional settings may seem out of place. For me, however, in both cases these symbols of modernity bring a sense of hope. By themselves, the presence of a praise band or the digital projection of lyrics and DVDs in worship will not guarantee the church’s survival. They are evidence, however, of the church’s willingness to try, to adapt, to present the gospel message in a new, fresh, and modern way.

Our grandparents had enough vision to install electric lights and indoor plumbing in their churches. Our parents added carpet, modernized the kitchens and added microphones to the pulpits and installed speakers on the walls. Now it is our turn to try to keep up with the opportunities before us. The gospel message may not change, but the methods we use to declare that message change constantly, and so they must!

What will the future hold? I confess I don’t have much idea; perhaps a holographic projection of the prophet/president speaking in congregations all around the world simultaneously. I am not the least bit concerned about that; it is not my job to be. It is my/our job to be concerned about how we can effectively share the love of Jesus with people who need to hear it in our day.

So good job, DPC and Proton CofC. For today, at least, you give me hope!

Posted by Carman

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