I have never been the fastest runner. My soccer coach compared me to a freight train: slow to get moving, took a lot to keep moving, and hard to stop. Not only is that the likeliest explanation for my early transition to goalie, but perhaps it is also why an enduring visual memory from my elementary school days is of an out-and-back race. As I recall it, everyone was supposed to run out to a cone, run around it, and come back to the starting line. As I was lumbering up to my cruising speed, heading towards the cone, I began to see the faces of my classmates looking at me with triumph and pity as they raced in the opposite direction just inches from my left shoulder. They had already been to the cone, made the turn, and were heading back. And I was woefully behind.
I think that’s where Christ’s Church is at right now. We’ve spent the past two centuries getting up to speed, lumbering towards a wholehearted embrace of materialism and its attendant technology, and we are surprised to see that some of the irreligious masses we were running after have turned the corner and are looking at us pityingly as they speed back towards the numinous. But who said we had to go all the way to the cone?
When a friend shared Tim Dawson’s recent article in The Critic, this quote caught my eye: “Twitter and the twenty-four hour news-cycle is no place for a creature with a soul.”
I couldn’t agree more. We are creatures with souls and even irreligious Millennials are beginning to grasp the fact. The Church has much more to offer than modernism/individualism/escapism repackaged with a biblical twist.
I pray that the Church realizes that instead of running full-tilt after our culture, we could actually get ahead of the pack in an instant if we’d turn around now and go back to where we started.
I’d encourage you to read Dawson’s article here.