Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Unconditional Acceptance

In looking over data from a number of studies conducted this pasty year, the Barna Research Group has put together some larger themes they see emerging. They name these as "Americans’ unconditional self-love; nouveau Christianity; the five Ps of parenting; and designer faith with rootless values." Their article on the findings is here Barna Finds Four Mega-Themes in Recent Research.

I'll just share something of what they say about our unconditional acceptance of ourselves where they write,
Barna studies underscored the fact that Americans have a high opinion of themselves - and lingering reservations about others. Despite their self-satisfaction, many Americans want to continue to change and grow.

Among the terms that more than four out of five adults selected to describe themselves were loyal, reliable, independent thinker, supportive of traditional family values, clear about the meaning and purpose of their life, making a positive difference in the world, and well-informed about current events. More than two out of three also noted that they are open to new ideas and easily adapt to change....

Most Americans, it seems, are willing to change as long as the pathway promises benefit and enjoyment, and generally avoids pain, conflict and sacrifice....

It seems that many Americans are seeking to be viewed as individuals distinct from the ever-growing masses.

Another oddity observed through the research is that adults - especially those under 30 - regularly strive to be connected to a substantial number of other people and yet possess a nagging sense of loneliness, isolation and restlessness. The constant involvement with social networking via the Internet, text messaging and phone calls via mobile devices, and frequent appearances at common hangouts (think Starbucks, movie theaters and favorite restaurants) are manifestations of the investment in relationships and connections that are important but somehow not as fulfilling as desired.
One of these trends, that which says that we are willing to change as long as it will benefit us, but not bring conflict or sacrifice would seem to make Christianity a tough sell. Jesus faced lots of conflict and an epic amount of sacrifice and told us to expect no less.

On the other hand, that feeling with the under 30 crowd of striving for connection, but feeling isolated is something Christianity has a lot to say about. Meaningful connection with one another and with God is at the very heart of Jesus' Good News. The only downside is that while our faith can offer connection, it may ask for sacrifice to help make that happen. That might not sell well, but it is our story and I am trying to stick to it.

Are you as sure of yourself and unsure of others as they say? What about being connected while feeling lonely? What do y'all think about the study's findings?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



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