Young, restless, and Reformed...

Reading Acts 17 yesterday, verse 21 hit me. Luke provides this parenthetical aside as a summary of the sitz im leben (most of us just say "context") of the Apostle Paul's sermon to the Athenians of the Areopagus:

(Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

What a perfect description of the college towns where Mary Lee and I have made our homes—Boulder, Madison, and Bloomington. Matter of fact, a giggling excitement over fashion is the defining trait of the academy and its environs as Chesterton pointed out a century ago.

But thinking more, I realized this giggling excitement over fashion is also characteristic of major portions of the young, restless, and Reformed crowd... They spend their lives keeping up with the latest fashions. The flight of a microbrew is a perfect representation of their attention span. But who can blame them? They are what they've eaten.

For example, check out the Catholic-bashing of the Wall Street Journal at the top of Google News just now. "Pope defended old church teaching."

Actually, as I think about it, "Restless" connotes too much stability. "Churning" is more accurate, as in young, churning, and Reformed.

U see it?

Sadly, there's no hope of pastoral care from men who are churning. A rolling stone gathers no moss and moss is a must for any sheep or lamb to know his shepherd's voice.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.


Thanks Tim!

 Yes! Despite the impeccable credentials, to be young and restless and Reformed, is really no different than being young and restless and Bright or Progressive or Buddhist. Or as I say to my kids, "theology doesn't save you, Jesus does."

But there is a cure, and it is happening now, on our watch. It works wonders. It clears the air, cleanses the palate, and purifies the soul. It separates the sheep from the goats, it sanctifies the church, and heals the penitent. It condemns the evil and rescues the godly. It is too late in coming, but always too long in remaining. It is feared and dreaded and anxiously anticipated, but praised highly upon its departure. It is the currency of heaven, for the same coin damns one to hell and delivers another to Heaven.

It is called suffering, Habakkuk.

Who, then, is trying to make Reformed thinking cool? Because that sounds like what is at the root of the problem you describe. 

I grew up around people saying things like "s/he has a word", "a word for you", "a word for us", "a word for the church", and you can guess what kind of "Christians" those were. Thus I have never liked, in any environment--Pentecostal, Charismatic, or otherwise, anything like "thank you for the word [brother/sister/[insert something here]]", but perhaps for the first time ever, maybe because I am too simple in thinking on how this "jibs", and is jibing right now, with my experience. It has taken (and continues) suffering and a madness of the likes I never would have imagined possible to drive me from the teeth of modern Christendom's pastors and "sharing-and-caring" laywomen. The sort that speaks of the importance of "the local church" and that ilk, being a tool to remake society into a moral one, but unlike the Clearnote page, speaks not so much of "theological truth" (even when it may use those terms, or "God's truth") but rather theological ideas, into the lives of [their own] disciples, programs of "their" church and movement and body, and their activities, initiatives, conferences, ways of training leadership...

I'm a ways off for many, many reasons, but the similarly I once took heart in discovering the words of Charles Spurgeon, that if you wish to be of any use to the body or some poor brother or sister, then you can expect to be put through the most extreme of heartaches and sorrows.

But that's another topic. So to return to my original point: "thanks for the word" Mr. rob

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