faithful living, critical thinking
This is a good quote from William Placher, "Helping Theology Matter: A Challenge For the Mainline" in The Christian Century, October 28, 1998: "So many of our churches have become boring and depressing places. So many of the brightest children of our church members are going to Buddhist retreats or reading about Celestine prophecies or God knows what. They aren't seeing churches as places where they migth go to think seriously about their religious questions." I appreciate The Christian Century's motto: "faithful living; critical thinking"! Good mix. For me, as a pastor with young people in my own family and in our church, I think Placher is right. We need to allow our children, as well as adults, to ask the hard questions. Also, what people may be finding in Buddhist retreats and prophecies is religious experience. I think we should make every effort to make our churches communities where critical thinking can occur, as well as a place where God may be perceived, where people may actually exclaim, "God is really among you!" Theological depth and the presence of God among us is a mix I desire and encourage.