Eating Road Kill
Remember gummy bears, the candy version of animal crackers? Forget them. Todayís children have become what we called "street smart." According to the Associated Press, it seems Kraft Foods knows this and has left rubber on the pavement with a new rubbery candy called "Road Kill." Many think itís cute. These little critters have been flattened, squashed, smushed, and even have little tire marks to prove it. It seems Darwin was right, at least in the world of candy, the wimps and gummy bears cannot survive.
Donít panic, but if you look in your rear-view mirror you might want to pull over into the right-hand lane. A new generation is bearing down on us boomers and they are in a hurry. If they drive rather recklessly, remember we taught them everything they know. If our fate is the same as the gummy bearís, we have only ourselves to blame. These kids have ipods, text messaging, and Play Station. While we are talking about saving Social Security, or virtues of prunes verses Metamusal, they are just hitting their stride. Remember the gummy bears and move over.
"Hip" churches are now hiring specialists to reach what they call "Emerging Generations." This is nothing new. Each generation of Christians has tried to reach its own generation using the tools and speaking the language of the day. This is understandable. However, seeing the Road-Kill for Kiddies (Kraft has pulled its add that showed a little critter caught in the beam of oncoming headlights) made me think we might have failed in helping generation "X" to find its way. Have you noticed how the Church has had to "dumb down" its message to a sixth grade reading level? Just read a sermon written a hundred years ago and compare it to one preached last Sunday in any given local church. Not only was the theology once deep enough to sail a frigate, one might find illustrations in great men like Savonarola or Cervantes. Today we are more likely to hear about Bart Simpson, or Dumb and Dumber.
Heaven help us. I am not out to save the gummy bears, don't get me wrong. In our 24/7 society it is getting harder and harder to find that still and quiet place, or what Jesus once called a "house of prayer." It is also getting harder and harder to find places of worship serving up the Bread of Life. It is harder to find little soft and tender hearts. It seems we have forgotten where we are going in such a hurry. The goal is not to get there first or to arrive there with the most stuff. The goal is to seek the Kingdom of God. The goal to be more like Jesus, and that requires being born again. Jesus was no tree-hugger. However, unlike some preachers I have known, I do believe Jesus would "break" for little critters, or at least for those who are "least" among us. Neither do I think He would pass out candy (flattened or unflattened). He knows we need more. I do believe He loves the emerging generation which is eating its "Road Kill," and wants His church to give them something much, much better and much, much more.