We’ve been watching a lot of football around the Skillen home and we’ve loved a few of the advertising campaigns that we’ve seen in the commercial breaks.
Our favorite: The Settler’s.
I think that these are not only funny ads, but they remind me of who we can be as the Church, at times.
- We tend to think that there isn’t much that we need to adjust in order to move ahead in a changing world. This impulse to resist change is more precisely found in a contentment to continue what we know rather than a fear of try something new.
- The Church is not “old,” but at times people feel like they are stepping back in time while interacting with our communities.
- Outsiders may look at the people in their lives who go to church in a sympathetic way, rather than with disdain. A generation ago, when people quoted 1 Peter 3:15 they’d paraphrase by saying, “Be prepared to give a defense (an apologia) for the hope that you have.” In our time, it appears to be said a bit differently: “Be prepared to give a reason…” Non-churchgoers seem to wonder, “You mean, after scientific inquiry, hyper-religious-and-political-ideology, constant apocalyptic paranoia, scandals and controversies, etc… you still go to church? What’s your reason?”
The answer going forward isn’t as easy as dumping all of the old stuff for the newest thing nor is it to resist the new for the “tried and true ways.” The way of Jesus has always been attracted to “treasures old and new,” a great mashup of what has gone before us while not being afraid to creatively interact with the present and anticipated future.
James D.G. Dunn suggests that this is one of the compelling ideas of the gospel, that it is both a tradition and a revelation. On the one hand, Paul suggested that the gospel was “according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15) and, on the other hand, a “revelation” that no one person revealed to him. (Galatians 1)
The church functions as its best when it can be accurate in its curating of the past, all-the-while agile enough to navigate the contours of the arriving future.