For those who are uncomfortable with any suggestion that our future is in our own hands, this might be one of those weeks to abandon the assigned texts on theological grounds. (It is extra tempting given the occasion of “Rally Sunday.”) In Deuteronomy we hear that if we obey we shall live and be blessed, but if our heart turns away we shall perish. And then very directly, “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”
What do young people look for in church? In research done in 250 congregations among people ages 15–29, respondents repeatedly said they were looking for congregations that were “welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring.” The researchers began to call this set of concerns the “warmth cluster.” Worship bands and ministry programs are not a priority, nor is busyness. Even “niceness” doesn’t work with young people. What they apparently seek at church is a sense of family, which calls for intergenerational relationships (Washington Post, September 6).