Nothing is as fine as one’s native place – from A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
I wasn’t born in Jacksonville, but I’m claiming this definition from Merriam-Webster: Native – living or growing naturally in a particular region.
I moved to Jacksonville three months shy of my seventh birthday and lived there off and on for 33 of the next 49 years. I lived and grew there; I was shaped by the influences of family and community.
I long to return, though so much has changed and so many of those I love are gone. Though I’ve lived in two other states and different towns along the way, none of them feel like home. Home is where you share childhood stories and you can reminisce with those who get what you mean. I know that in so many ways ‘you can’t go home again’ is true. But if I can’t go home, where will I go?
Everyone’s heard the cliche about taking time to smell the roses. After reading this glimpse of a pub in Ireland, I think “take time for the stout to settle” is better.
“He poured half my pint of Guinness, then let it stand for three minutes, in the time-honored way. This lets the stout settle. It also allows the barman to ask you who you are, where you’re from, and why you’re here. The other customers listen and nod. Then, he fills the pint, smooths off the head with a table knife with a parchment-coloured handle, and waits for you to take the first sip. And then the conversation continues.” – from McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy
So, I really got sidetracked today after reading an article reposted by someone I love but who really didn’t grow up in church. I feel like someone from the outside looking in, reading this article, could really find justification for despising the “church” as they understand it. Here I will briefly address each point the author makes with my insight, however flawed.
Nobody’s listening to us “…millennials value voice and receptivity above all else”
This seems kind of sad that this is valued above all else.
We’re sick of hearing about values & mission statements
I can agree here. Get back to the Gospel.
Helping the poor Isn’t a priority
The author talks about connecting people with similar passions – meeting and brainstorming. Individual Christians need to be serving the people where they are – it’s not always necessary to CONNECT and brainstorm.
We’re tired of you blaming the culture
True, perhaps, We need to call sin sin. I agree, we need to see how our lives should differ from the culture.
The “You Can’t Sit With Us” affect – The author speaks of “…authentic community with a shared purpose centered around service”.
We need to be centered around worship. All the rest will then fall into place. He also says to “..create and train a team of CONNECT people…” This seems like just another program. We are called as Christians to do this regardless.
Distrust and misallocation of resources “…millennials don’t trust institutions.” The misallocations of funds is true in many churches, especially the Mega-churches. But, many of these are just religious institutions, not a true body of believers.
We want to mentored, not preached at
I understand craving relationship and I believe it can be found within the church. The New Testament shows us this example in Paul and Timothy. But, this does not mean to disregard preaching. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – Romans 10:17
We want to feel valued. “Churches tend to rely heavily on their young adults to serve.” (yet later the author says the church is “… a smattering of mostly older people) I agree with his point about relying on young people – this isn’t in keeping with the pattern set out for us in scripture. The author goes on to say, “We desperately need the church to tell us we are enough, exactly the way we are.” This is completely false. None of us are “enough” – only in Christ are we worthy. Many millennials have been given trophies and told they could do anything they dreamed of, only to find out not everyone will be a NFL star or a grammy winner.
We want you to talk to us about controversial issues – “We need someone consistently speaking truth…”
This goes back to #1 – sound preaching. He says to “Create a young adults program…” A program isn’t necessarily the answer. Sound preaching and teaching from home is. I will be the first to admit I fell down on the job on that one.
The public perception – “It’s time to change the public perception of the church.” The perception may change when the church is worshiping and serving as scripture teaches. But, just remember the public perception of Jesus when He was on earth was pretty low. Why should it be different for us?
Stop talking about us (unless you’re going to do something) I say this goes both ways.
You’re failing to adapt. Here the author quotes Bill Clinton, and I’m thinking there is something wrong with that picture. Then he says, “You’re complacent, irrelevant, and approaching extinction.” I guess “stop talking about us” doesn’t apply here.
“The truth is, church, it’s your move.”
If the author is a Christian, he IS the church. If he’s not, all of this is moot.
I don’t think there is just one single reason that I write. Rather, I write for different reasons in different seasons.
Often I write to keep my sanity. There is this piece of me always wanting to share yet often there is no one to share with. So, I write and fling it out to the world to make a connection. Sometimes it hits a mark, sometimes it makes an empty plink.
I write for the joy of creating, whether it’s a poem or a post to accompany a photo or a challenge to be met, like this prompt.
I write to tell a story, to shout out some news, to make someone laugh. I pen my thoughts with the hope that it might make someone stop and reflect or that it might be of some help to a weary soul.
And, yes, I often write hoping someone will notice.
I haven’t done a throwback post in a while, so here goes.
I found this postcard in an antique store a few years back. This is how Hemming Park/ Plaza used to look. It has been redone once or twice since this picture was taken. I like the picture because it shows the May Cohens department store. This is where I worked the summer I got engaged. I worked upstairs in the credit department. I felt so grown up working downtown. Some days I would take my lunch and eat in the lunch room where the TV was always showing “The Young and the Restless”. It was from the snack machine there that I had my first Lorna Doone shortbread cookies and I still love them. On occasion I would venture out with someone to eat somewhere nearby. There were other large department stores down the street such as Ivey’s and Furchgott’s . One of them had a nice restaurant inside.
After I got married I still worked there. We only had one car so I rode the bus. Hemming Park was the main hub where all the buses went, so it was convenient. I enjoyed riding the bus, actually. I was on the phone a large part of the day, listening to customer complaints. I got a headache nearly every day, so I was glad not to have to drive home.
May Cohens was in the St, James Building which is now City Hall. I was there a few weeks ago with my mother-in-law. It was so strange to be inside because it looks completely different now.
I love the history of old buildings and it’s fun having this connection and the memories of how downtown Jacksonville used to be. Some things change for the better, some for the worse. I hope these beautiful old buildings stay around for a very long time.
Today I learned about a town that has a population smaller than my kid’s high schools were. This town was purchasing something for the police department. I will change the name of the town, so let’s call it Puzzle, U.S.A.
In 2012, there were 1,297 people living in Puzzle which covers an area of 3.3 square miles. There are three gas stations, a bank, restaurant, a mini grocery store, and a police department. There is even a Beauty Barn. Would you get your hair done in a barn? Sorry, I digressed.
On the Fourth of July they have a “Miss Puzzle” pageant. I wonder if the contestants get their hair done at the barn? Oops, there I go again.
Most of the citizens commute to work, shop, and go to school. The crime rate is lower than the state where it is located and lower than the US average. The median income is lower, also, than the state’s and much lower than the country’s. So, what does all this mean? What can we learn about a “poor” community with a low crime rate?
I’ll just throw out this other fact for you to ponder. In this little town there are seven churches. Yes, seven. I don’t know anything more than the names of these churches. I don’t know how many of Puzzle’s citizens go to church. And, I know having a church on every corner can mean something or nothing. But I think somewhere in all this there is a connection. I see a road trip in my future.