Friday, February 26, 2010

Young Adults and the Church

I read an interesting article this morning - [NOTE: The link may only take you to the main Politics Daily page. Enter "pew center young adults" in the search box, and it's the first article that comes up.] The article briefly discussed the Pew Center's recently-released report, "Religion Among the Millenials." Please read the entire article, but in short, Pew indicated that the generation of young adults aged 18-29 are leaving organized denominations and churches, but have not abandoned their faith to embrace secularism. They are not worshipping in the way of their parents and grandparents. They are leaving the church because of the church's role in politics. I do find it interesting that the early church was always involved in politics - as with the Civil Rights Movement - but perhaps the church was dealing more with social politics as opposed to the extreme right- and left-wing issues being fought across the country today. This blog is not a review, or even a discussion about the Pew report. However, this article had me revisit the question many of us in the church have been asking..."Why are young adults leaving the church?"

We must be very careful with information found in surveys such as the Pew report - I think that too many of our churches take this information as a cue to "re-vamp" the church. Speaking as a Methodist, John Wesley (the father of Methodism), Richard Allen (founder and first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church), James Varick (founder and first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church), and all our other forefathers and foremothers, along with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gave us all the tools we needed, and still need, for effective ministry. What we need to do is just sharpen the tools for today's times. Too many ministers and laity feel it necessary to "change" the church drastically in order to attract, or re-attract young adults. Many want to write-off the "traditions" of the church, citing them as being outdated and irrelevant. However, in terms of Methodism, the "tradition" of John Wesley WAS preaching to the people in the streets, at risk of being stoned and ridiculed for his faith and public proclamation of the Gospel. It was the tradition of John Wesley and his brother Charles to "preach" to the local pubdwellers by putting Christian lyrics to the tunes of popular bar songs. Now if that wasn't an example of bringing the Gospel to the people...!

Please...let's not start trying to take the "church" out of the church - restructuring pulpits, taking down altar rails, taking crosses off the wall and not using the word "church" in the names of our ministries. These are not the things that turn people away from the church. What turns young adults away is the church that preaches the Gospel, but fails to LIVE the Gospel. The church filled with people who have forgotten what it is like to be young in age, or young in Christ, and forget to be patient and loving to those who are growing up in the faith. We must stop trying to give people what they WANT and remember to give people what they NEED, according to the Word of God.

The true church is made up of the hearts of the people. If our hearts are right and in tune with God, and we continue to preach, teach and live the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ, and continue to allow God to give our leaders vision and share that unaltered vision with the followers, then our churches will grow and reclaim its place as the true beacons in our community and in our world.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Favorite Things (MFT)-Down Memory Lane

Periodically, I'll hightlight one or a few of my favorite things. No, not like Oprah - there will be no giveaways! It may be products, movies, music, or anything. Remember, this spot is all about a little bit of this and a little bit of that, so...

Today's MFT is the television music show "Soul Train". Before BET videos, before "106th and Park", there was and always will be the SOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUL TRAAAIN!! Saturday mornings...doing chores around the house...eating cereal...and standing/sitting/dancing in front of the TV watching cool-as-a-cucumber Don Cornelius and the Soul Train Dancers. Who can forget that deep soulful voice, with the 10-foot collars, silver bangle bracelet, wire-rimmed glasses and perfectly-coiffed Afrosheen blowout kit-inspired Afro?! Please tell me I was not the only little girl with a crush on Don Cornelius?

Centric (the channel formerly known as BET-J) carries Soul Train reruns and I'm in love all over again. Yes, I'm a child of the 70's, but was still quite young during many of the early ST episodes, so I'm seeing a lot of these for the first time. Between reminiscing and learning something new, I am really enjoying catching these episodes on the weekends. What happened to being able to watch ST and learn or perfect the latest dances? We don't even have dances anymore. All we have is booty-shaking, gyrating, and The Cupid Shuffle/Electric Slide/Cha-Cha Slide (all of which are nothing but new-fangled versions of The Hustle and The Bus Stop!).

...but I digress...

Watching Soul Train is not just about remembering the music, or the dances, or the fashions. It's about remembering the era. When you watch Soul Train, you think about what was going on in your life, and in the world when these songs were playing. A few weeks ago, I saw an episode with The Sylvers - remember them? They were the "new" Jackson Five (and pre-cursor to DeBarge!). Another big family of pretty teens, with the cute young sibling on lead vocals. Yes, I had a BIG crush on Foster Sylvers. It reminded me of my sister's cut-out pictures from Right On! magazine (I KNOW y'all remember Right On!) that peppered her walls, right next to the J-5 posters. I remembered the summers when everyone in the block sat on our porch - we lived on the corner - listening to music. My mother sometimes had to call out the window for us to hold it down. Now these kids were teens, and I was only 5, so I was not exactly hanging out with them. But I remember them being there!

Soul Train is a reminder of family reunions down South when all your cousins got together for the "big show" that Saturday night, when we would showcase our talents for the older family members. Doing the latest dances, and showing off the way we did the dances "up North" versus how our Southern cousins did them. These were simpler times. These were fun times.

Maybe I'll start a "Back down memory lane" series? What do you think? Until then, "as we always say in parting. Wishing you love, peace and SOOOOOUUUUL!"

Time Flies

Wow. I can't believe we're more than halfway through February, and I haven't posted a thing since the beginning of the month. Bad blogger! In all honesty, I haven't had much to say lately-just busy with work, home, etc. I know, you don't feel like hearing me complain. I guess there's nothing worse than a whiny blogger!

Still trying to get ideas for my next vlog on YouTube. I have some ideas, but can't seem to flesh out anything substantial to talk about. My next one will probably be on teens and sex - I think that's my roadblock. I have a lot to say, but I'm a bit reluctant - it's one video I want to really be prepared for and not say things off the cuff. I say it's a roadblock because I'm starting to believe that "ain't no good gonna come to me" until I do right by the subject of teens and sex.

To all my friends from Facebook who may be reading this...PLEASE subscribe to my YouTube channel ( I know you've been watching my vlogs, and I suspect you don't subscribe because the system forces you to sign up/register with YouTube. Trust me, it's safe and there are no downsides to registering with YT. Would I lie to you? LOL.

Thanks again for everyone's support. Please remember to send me comments to let me know what's on your mind, and what you'd like to see me talk about. Let's make "This and That" with Calandra a fun place to hang out!

Peace and blessings.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Black History Month

Welcome to Black History Month! I can't promise I'll post a fact every day, but I'll try to share a few each week. I was so proud of our 3 year old son, Izzy. He had colored a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. several weeks ago in school, but I didn't know he had a little speech to go along with it. It went something like, "This is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a civil rights leader who fought for peace and equality." It was a beautiful moment. He has so much more history to learn, but to know that he learned this at 3, we look forward to the journey of teaching him even more.

I can remember in college being a bit annoyed that BHM always seemed to just mean Dr. King, Harriet Tubman, and a handful of others, when there were so many more people and facts to know. But now seeing my son learn about Dr. King, I look at it as his first step in learning about all, and I mean ALL the others who came before and after Dr. King to shape our legacy as African Americans. Let us also be mindful that history is being made every day, so don't complain about Black History Month only being 28 days. Take this as an opportunity to get the ball rolling towards a 365-day celebration of Black History. Celebrate every day! Find history living in your family, in your church, in your community. Let's learn and celebrate the past, but don't forget to understand the present so that we can begin shaping our future.