Do you ever just stop, look around, and wonder where we are? I don’t mean where we are physically. I mean, do you ever ask yourself where we are as a society, as a culture, and (for all you Christians out there) as a church? I ask myself that a lot.Life can become bewildering at times. That may be true now more than ever. I can’t imagine things being more confusing at any other time in history.
I know people always say that’s true of every age. Every generation thinks things couldn’t get any worse. Yet, things just seem to be absolutely nuts these days.
I suppose much of my perception stems from the fact that we know so much in our era. We have technology that feeds us information 24/7/365. We can travel like no other generation ever could. On top of all that, we seem to have more leisure time than ever before. Consequently, we’re bombarded from all sides with way more than we’d ever want to know or learn.
“A Paralyzing Force”
Too much information is a paralyzing force. At least, it is for my feeble brain. I can’t process everything that enters the portals of my eyes, ears, and brain (not to mention my other sensory organs). Because of that, I’m often held captive by the last thing I heard or saw.
As a result of all this, my thought life often feels like it’s on a pendulum. One day I think things are going to be okay. The next day I can’t imagine ever being able to surface from the quagmire we call life. Coming up for air can be a struggle.
It’s no wonder so many people take their own lives. Coping must seem like an impossible task for myriads of folks. Taking the next step must feel like stumbling off a cliff in the dark.
Take the church, for example. There are days when I feel we’re so irrelevant we could never recover. Sometimes I think we need to get back to first century Christianity. Their vitality and passion was off the charts.
“Join us in our morass.”
Then the pendulum swings back and I’m jolted into a cycle where I’m attempting to move into the twenty-first century. In those times I think most of our irrelevance is due to the fact that we’ve been stuck in the sixteenth century Reformation period. We’ve been there for so long, we think everyone should join us in our morass.
Sometimes I think I’m trying too hard. Other times I think I’m not doing nearly enough. Most of the time, I just hope I’m right where the Lord wants me to be.
Miriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia defines a pendulum as “a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. Unfortunately, that seems to describe my life to a tee (all too often). I feel like a dead weight being pushed around by everything that’s happening around me.
Swinging freely is not always a great feeling. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying the ride.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]