I grew up in church. A rigid non-denominational, denomination. We wore hats. Women were silent. We “broke bread” every Sonday morning in Morning Meeting. Morning Meeting was quiet. Hymns were sung, but no musical instruments were played, all singing was a capella. My grandpa was Sonday School Superintendent and my sister and I were expected to be shining examples in scripture memorization, books of the Bible reciting, angelic girls who sat quiet during Morning Meeting – my grandpa had a big voice – a big presence at Chapel (we didn’t even call it church). Oft times, his six-foot plus, gray-suited self would stand and open his Little Flock (morning meeting hymnal) and begin a song. Always a serious, slow song with beautiful words. Today, his Little Flock is one of my life treasures.
Now that may have come across negatively – but in all truth – I am eternally grateful for my heritage.
But, whew, church has changed. Amen?
(Disclaimer: I stand firm on the tenets of my Bible faith in regard to morality, modesty, marriage, life-style choices, pro-life – these are non-negotiables for me.)
Liz Curtis Higgs made a profound statement as she dropped the rock into the tray at this year’s IF:Gathering in Austin Texas. She looked at the sea of women and said (not exact quote), “I wondered why I was invited here this weekend – after all, I am much older than all of you but I want to say if anyone is worried about the future of the church? Don’t be, because this generation has it together.”
Man, that had such an impact on me because as a 60-something woman who hangs out with 30/40-something women in the space we call the interweb, I am daily blown-away by the grace this generation extends.
Amidst nose-rings, tattoos, body piercings, skinny jeans, hip-high boots, spiked hair, and, all that doesn’t look church-conventional…
His GRACE finds us.
Jesus hung out with rebels and rousers, sinners and saints, His grace continues to extend to all.
The church has changed but His salvation grace is the same today as it was the moment He cried, “IT IS FINISHED!”
Linking today with:
Women with Intention Wednesday
beth willis miller says
Susan, I so agree with you! I especially love your last sentence…that expresses my heart and truly says it all. Many blessings to you, friend.
Hanha Hobson says
WOW. So true! I grew up in a traditional southern baptist church so I understand the weekly attendance to Sunday School, the hats, and the skirts that never went above the knee. But as a 20 year old, I didn’t realize the extent in how the church has changed. I am definitely grateful for God’s continuous and sufficient grace!
Ms Hobson, since I have lived a whole lot longer than you I have seen enormous CHANGE! Thanks for visiting.
Kitty Lawrence says
Thought provoking. We recently left a church that was more traditional, more ridgid one could say and are now attending a much more laid back congregation. Flip flops, coffee, tea, babies everywhere, children in service not hid away somewhere. It’s new-er. But the Word is taught with strength, conviction, purpose. It’s real for real people. I choose real over seminary. Thanks, Sus.
Real is my choice too!!
Born in 1978, I am on the edge of two different generations…Gen X and Gen Y. I love how you call out how us 30/40 somethings extend grace. I am not sure where that comes from in our generation. But growing up in a Lutheran church, one of my fave things about being Lutheran is “God’s grace.” Yes the church has changed. I wish more people realized that…that it is for the good. Too many think the church is going to die out. But when I look around at my youth, I see such a deep passion for morals, God’s grace, etc. Loved this post friend!
Tara, my youngest was born in ’77 – no wonder you and I made such a connection!!! Grace is much bigger than I was led to believe as a child!
Anita Ojeda says
I can relate! The denomination I belong to, unfortunately, is rather polarized over preference issues (music style, worship style, leadership style). I often feel as if I’m waiting for the old guard to die out (that sounds horrible, I know, but so many people in their 60s-70s are ENTRENCHED–one could say, practically entombed) before the grace of the younger generation is unleashed and the message of God’s love can spill all over the world.
Anita, you may very well be right. Yet, I’m in my sixties and love the new regime!!! Worship, music, leadership – love the more contemporary way!
The church might have changed but Jesus has not. So glad His arms are still open to all. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Holley Gerths.
Rebecca – exactly the point I wanted to make!
Kim Adams Morgan says
Amen to that. One never knows where they will encounter God’s love and grace. Jesus didn’t worry how people looked or what they did; neither should we.
He sure didn’t, did He Kim? Why do we get so hung up on that junk?
Amen! I loved that too, when Liz said that! So much amen!
YOU remember the quote, K??? I love that woman LCH!!!
Messy Mom says
I love this Susan! I like your disclaimer too. I am with ya!
I thought we were on the same team, Natalie!!!
Peggy Hoefl says
As the older sister of the author I love hanging out with my younger brothers and sisters. They are strong, powerful, committed and they are for the most part non-judgmental! I love that part. As a committed believer in Celebrate Recovery programs, life’s Healing Choices and the whole recovery picture, I love “tats”, long hair, jeans, and very upbeat and moderate praise and worship music. Easter Sunday at my church there was a beautiful young woman with a lovely sleeveless floral sundress on and a big “Easter” hat, and underneath it all including her long tanned legs? TATOOS everywhere! I loved it I recently found a homeless ministry close to my new home and there they are: homeless people who live in tents. Tents? Yes tents! Pregnant homeless people, but all well fed (because of this fantastic ministry), and all sitting and waiting for the Bible study to begin. Homeless, perhaps the ones you see on the street corners with signs but you know what? A lot of them love Jesus, have great Grace and are going to be the “ministers” of the future church. I believe Jesus looks down and probably sometimes comes down and walks with them, and laughs as he watches his kids emerge into what He really calls the church. People caring about and loving other people.
This: “Jesus looks down and probably sometimes comes down and walks with them, and laughs as he watches his kids emerge into what He really calls the church. People caring about and loving other people.” Says it all. xo Thanks older sister.
I love the quote from Lizz Curtis Higgs. I had the joy of speaking with her in breakfast lines at Allume last November. I love that Grace is enveloping the church in her arms and carrying the world on her hips as the song says. It’s Grace by U2.
Stopping by from the link up through Faith Barista.
Blessings dear sister.
Melinda, thank you so much for dropping by today.
Sarah Donegan says
So true-there is much more freedom in the church now!
It’s a shame it’s taken this long because we were granted freedom over 2,000 years in Christ! Thank you Sara for dropping by.
LOVE THIS! I grew up a PK… a preacher’s kid. Our non-denominational church was very conservative & my mother (especially) made it quite clear what was acceptable & what wasn’t. My father-the preacher, on the other hand, seemed to be able to very overtly love & accept everyone. It was hard to understand as a little kid. As the years have passed, I find myself being more & more like my father with regard to grace. SO THANKFUL THAT GOD KEEPS WORKING ON EACH OF US & NEVER STOPS!
C, glad we’ve run into one another on this big ole “web”..
Kristin Hill Taylor says
I love the freedom here. And I love your encouragement. So glad our paths cross on the big ‘ole internet, regardless of our ages! Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.
Ah, thanks, Kristin!
Jenny @ Women With Intention says
Great post! Thank you for sharing at Women With Intention Wednesdays! I look forward to what you will share this week!
Thanks Jenny – I’m so glad I found your linkup.