I thought I'd offer a final list of things to do rather than pop off with these phrases that may mean little or nothing to the recipient, or worse, may cause unintended - but lasting - harm.
I’m speaking at an area assembly in Pittsburgh, Kansas, next week and the local paper called for a piece they were writing about it. Nice to get these ideas out there, and good to find attentive advocates in the media.
PITTSBURG , KS –
The nation may be on the verge of a spiritual awakening, but it could bring changes that are uncomfortable to some.
Christian Piatt, an author, musician, editor and blogger, will discuss that and other topics during the Southeast District Spring Workshops scheduled March 10 at the First Christian Church.
Anybody wanting to do a little homework in preparation for the event can visit his blog and check out the entry titled “Christopher Hitchens, Diana Butler Bass and the Third Great Awakening.”
“I’m kind of taking what I’ll be doing from that,” Piatt said during a telephone Wednesday from his home in Pueblo, Colo.
Granted, it may seem a little odd that he’s referencing the recently deceased Hitchens, a best-selling author and one of atheism’s most articulate spokesmen. But Hitchens also called for a “renewed Enlightenment,” which he hoped would be free of institutions that he felt had imposed pain, shame and guilt on their followers.
“But that still leaves room for individual voices,” Piatt writes in his blog. “Just not their hulking power structures and their history of oppressive, fear-based rule over people.”
He will be doing two keynote addresses at the Southeast District event, and will also be leading a workshop on “Relating to Younger Generations,” a subject close to his heart which also relates to that spiritual awakening.
“We recently emerged from the modern era, which had a black and white way of looking at the world — you’re either Christian or you’re not, you’re with us or against us,” Piatt said. “George W. Bush presented a modern world view. In our post-modern world, the lines are blurring and there’s more gray in life.”
He noted that young adults tend to regard race and sexual orientation as not really important.
“Fewer and fewer young adults care about the denominational label on the church door, they care about the congregation of people it houses,” Piatt said.
Some others, however, continue to cling to the modern view out of fear of losing these familiar and comforting beliefs. Piatt said these people may choose religious institutions where they are told what to feel and think.
“These also create a feeling of belonging, but it cuts people off from the culture around them,” Piatt said. “Jesus did not stay in the temple studying doctrine, he was out in the streets. He changed them and was changed by them.”
This is the direction he sees for spiritual awakening. As he writes in the blog, “If we are to sustain and continue to share this story of faith we claim as Christians, it will have to be unencumbered by the caveat that we will only tell it from within the protection of our familiar institutional church. We are not a church or a denomination after all; we are the Greater Body of Christ, or so we claim. And while institutions incline themselves toward permanence, the Body is ever-changing. While the buildings crumble, the Temple evolves into something new.”
Piatt and his wife, the Rev. Amy Piatt, co-founded the Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo in 2004 and he serves as a co-pastor. The couple were also youth co-pastors in Colorado and Texas from 1999 to 2003, and he was a music minister at Angel of Hope Christian Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
Piatt is creator and editor of the “Banned Questions” book series, including “Banned Questions About the Bible” and “Banned Questions About Jesus.” He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press.
Piatt also has a new memoir coming out on April 1 titled “A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date,” dealing with his experiences in fatherhood. He and his wife have two small children, son Mattias and daughter Zoe.
The Southeast District Spring Workshops will also include Brandon Gilvin, Week of Compassion associate director, leading a workshop on courageous compassion and Kirby Gould, vice president of the Christian Church Foundation, leading a workshop on “Developing New Streams of Funding for Your Church.”
Anyone needing additional information may call the First Christian Church at 231-1430.