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Yes, it’s true: the world is “des-

perately in need of a church that offers a way of peace, truth, com- passion and hope” that arises out of a truth and experience greater than ourselves, an experience of the Eternal.


this time something much larger and much greater than they will find them, touch them, inspire them. And so they return week after week. Something traditional done exceedingly well brings together insiders and outsiders in a most remarkable way.

The author of “Insiders and out-

siders” states that “stable structures are a high value in a stable culture.” No, it’s exactly the opposite. Stable structures are a high value in unsta- ble, coreless times and culture. We have become a culture that

idolizes the moment and the self- centered individual, all the while ready to abandon what has endured and what it is that binds us together. When we make the outsider the

arbiter of our identity as commu- nity, as family, even our own self, we will find ourselves caught up in the quicksand of populism, fleeting faddism and a wild search for that which we tout as relevant. But rel- evant to what?

This crazed path of chasing after

whatever in the moment seems to feel good and serves individual momentary need—even at the expense of everyone and everything else—has left us with a soulless culture.

When everything is spinning out of control around me, what I need is not something else rootless and fleeting. I need a deep connection and experience with what is lasting, enduring, even eternal.

“Insiders vs. outsiders” intro- duces a dichotomy that is unnec- essary and even unhelpful. It pits people against one another. Do we not all share the same basic needs, search for the same lasting truths? Who will be there to introduce me, perhaps for the first time, to the life-giving truth that endures, the God who is eter- nal and everlasting? Who will help me understand and live my story, my experience, in light of the age- less story of the eternal and lasting source of life and not just exis- tence, of enduring love and not just self-gratification? So yes, let’s change what needs to change. But let’s not abandon what has endured through the cen- turies just because it has endured through the centuries. It may be that these insider truths and reali- ties hold something deep, timeless and greater than our current slice of time today. The God incarnate who came to earth and gave his life came to draw us into a living relationship with the eternal one, the God of time and eternity.

The word of grace and the prom- ises of God have been expressed faithfully through the psalms, hymns and liturgical texts through the cen- turies. These expressions of the old, old story are as relevant today to the yearnings of humanity as they were when they were first written. Thank God for a community of the faith- ful who held fast to the eternal story unwilling to sacrifice their gospel identity in the name of relevancy. Let us hope and pray we will do the same. 

May 2012 35

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