Crying for the old order

Parker Palmer says: “Unlike many folks my age, the young people I work with waste no time grieving the collapse of the ‘old order,’ of the religious, educational, vocational, and political structures that helped form their elders lives. When today’s young adults were born, many of those institutions were well on their way to becoming dysfunctional.*

“Instead of mourning what’s on its way out or already gone, many of the young adults I know are inventing forms of work and life that holds great promise–from political movements, to religious life, to staying connected in communities of meaning. … I find it inspiring to hang out with people who aren’t bemoaning the loss of what no longer serves us well. Instead they’re exploring possibilities that we, young and old together, can midwife into life.”

This, to me, sums up in a nutshell the reason why so many parishes are dying. Imagine the energy that would be released if we directed our attention away from trying to prop up institutions that no longer serve the world’s needs and turned instead to thinking about the true mission of the church. No gimmicks. But what, really, is our mission.

* Parker J. Palmer, On the Bring of Everything, 37