There are more dogs per household than children in America. That is to say, people like dogs more than children. Societies used to view dogs as scavengers who ate scraps off tables and were made to sleep on the streets at night. Now, instead of bringing their children out to dinner, people bring their dogs with them and have them sit at the table.
One of the most marked signs of cultural decline is the absence of children. The segregation of children from adult life is what has created an entire subset culture (adolescence, and teenage). It’s no wonder that there is even a newer category – the adult-o-lescense – those who are post teen-age who have not found themselves into full adulthood, lasting into the 30’s and even the 40’s.
Added to this is the view of abortion in the united states. Over 1 million abortions occur every year in the United States. What speaks volumes is that the culture at large views this as an indifferent issue. This is one more alarming evidence of our culture’s disdain of children.
How is the Church to react to such a situation?
I believe the Church has done very little to combat and undermine our culture’s expectation of the absence of children. We cart them off to their own programs and we do “our own thing” while “they do theirs”. In essence – they have their church, we have ours, they have their pastors, we have ours, they have their programs, we have ours. Most churches are attended by young families primarily based on the children programs provided. Yet the cultural understanding is that children must be entertained by someone else and sent to a different compartment.
Certainly children are an excellent motivation to reconsider one’s direction in life. Taking on the responsibility of a child and being the primary influence in their life has a way of making a person reconsider all their priorities. Yet the modes in which our culture approaches this issue and how the church handles children does not cut to the core. Children are shuffled off to another place to be handled by someone else, teaching God-knows-what. The main thing to note here is that children are absent from one more (the most important?) area in which children and adults come together.
How do we as the church confront our cultural expectations? Thus far, I would posit that we have done a poor job, and in fact, have accommodated to our culture’s expectations of the absence of children. Who knows, maybe these people go home and spend more time playing with their 3 dogs than their 2 children. If the church is to be “salt and light”, bearing witness to the culture that it is defunct in their understanding is a formidable mode of demonstration.
Bring your kids to church with you and let them learn what it means to be an adult.