The New World: Fewer Limits. Fewer Guarantees

We live in a brave world into which Christianity must offer a voice … a shift I wrote on several weeks ago, that needs addressed over and over as we sort through even what conversations need to be had.  Thomas Friedman, as noted in a previous blog, captured it well with his words in a recent Op-Ed piece carried in the New York Times.

What’s exciting is that this [hyper-connected] platform empowers individuals to access learning, retrain, engage in commerce, seek or advertise a job, invent, invest and crowd source — all online. But this huge expansion in an individual’s ability to do all these things comes with one big difference: more now rests on you.

If you are self-motivated, wow, this world is tailored for you. The boundaries are all gone. But if you’re not self-motivated, this world will be a challenge because the walls, ceilings and floors that protected people are also disappearing. That is what I mean when I say “it is a 401(k) world.” Government will do less for you. Companies will do less for you. Unions can do less for you. There will be fewer limits, but also fewer guarantees. Your specific contribution will define your specific benefits much more. Just showing up will not cut it.

We can rest fairly assured that the economic certainties our parents grew up with will continue to rapidly erode as life time employment and pensions slip into a bygone era.  Churches will live into that same era of economic uncertainty and into the endless possibilities as well that such an era ushers in.

This means churches will thrive provided they remain (a) mission centered and (b) highly innovative/ agile.   There are few other social bodies able to do the work that churches do.  The mission is unique and inspiration … a community of the willing organized around higher purpose, able to draw alongside the suffering of the world.  And to serve into that will call on congregations to bring fresh eyes and perspectives to the endeavor, employing the spirit of empowered partnership.

The model is messy.  The model is beautiful.   Fewer limits.  Fewer guarantees.

 

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