I was in a meeting a couple weeks ago (way way way way too many of my sentences start out that way) and we were discussing some of the trends in churches as they relate to a postmodern world view. In our group of meeting attendees was a seminary professor who made a comment - something to the effect that “the fastest group of people leaving the church are disciples”
None of us pressed him on the comment too much, or asked why he would say such a thing, I think because most of us felt that he was probably right. For some of us who answered a call to ordained ministry and have a post modern world view we occasionally wonder to ourselves why we haven’t left with them.
As our conversation continued we talked about the dissatisfaction of some people who are deeply committed to Christ, who genuinely want to follow him, and live a life that reflects that relationship with the process of maintain the institution of the church for the institution sake. In my own situation there seems, in a larger sense, to be a growing dissatisfaction with a modern form of Christianity that feels like math and formulas - rather than mystical and transforming: A belief system that revolves around behaviors and correct belief, rather than a relationship of love mercy and hope.
I find myself using the language of Christianity less and more a laguage of discipleship or following to a greater extent. So for those of us in the UMC we face a unique challenge of inheriting a system founded in discipleship and community - yet struggling with categories and polity that seems to hinder us from making significant head way in creating communities where Gods grace and presence transforms lives and our world. So how do we live in that structure yet be faithful to God’s call and the post modern world view we live with? Any thoughts?