Times Have Changed - and That's Good News
Seth Godin says that the TV-industrial complex has been cancelled. The old method of spreading ideas through very few mediums (like print and television) limited the number of ideas spread and who controlled these massive information machines. Big companies and big organizations could decide what regular people ingested in their brains on a daily basis.
With the advent of the internet and social media, the world has changed drastically in the last 20 years in such a big way that historians will probably scratch their heads (as they sit in their flying cars piloted by robots). Do you know who owns information and ideas now?
You and I do.
At the same time as the information revolution spins violently, the "nones" are growing, meaning there is a shift away from faith in the U.S. More people than ever are indicating that their faith is "none." This shouldn't shock anyone unless your head is in the sand.
An atheist would argue that these two paths converge because the old failed dogma of religion is false and now we have more ways to know about it. I could see how they could make that argument when looking through the lenses of their assumptions.
I think that's missing the point.
The connection here is that people want to think for themselves and they want to share ideas and decide on what they believe without anyone filtering or without back room cronyism pushing an ulterior agenda. We don't want to inherit our faith - we want to have our own authentic faith (you can't inherit faith anyway, so while your upbringing may have been great or it may have been not so great, either way you have to cut your own path spiritually). Thus the slow decline of the massive establishment of the TV-industrial complex and "organized religion."
For those who love Jesus, there is great news here. This is the authentication of the Christian church - and it's happening whether we like it or not. Canned messages and old assumptions based on tradition and not Biblical truth must withstand more intense scrutiny. While foundational Biblical truth stands firm upon the rock of the truth that Jesus is who He said He is, traditions that were created by man must stand on the trial as people ask why in a million different venues.
This is right up Jesus' alley, who loved to reason and talk and challenge man-made rules that trample on other people. So now we can share Jesus in a new way, as ideas spread like wildfire and people are more open to what they actually believe.
As the economic landscape changes in the information age and the "nones" grow, so too our ministry of vocation is changing alongside it. There are nuanced ways to share the love of Jesus as social constructs change and shift. As people are not assumed to be Christian because they are American.
We can (as I have been prone to do) shake our fist at the changes and think God is about to blow the world into smithereens - or we can do as a Marine would do: improvise, adapt, and overcome. Clinging to the past while clinching their teeth, the Pharisees were the old guard types of their day.
Who will we be? How will we be Jesus' light in the world - not in spite of these changes, but because of them?