There was an interesting article today in the Washington Post about how people's religious views change over time. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/27/AR2009042701460.html?hpid=topnews
The general opinion of "the elites" is that people migrate on a path from religious belief in childhood to adopting enlightened secularism as they evolve. I thought the conclusion about how people tend to gradually drift from their faith is more easily reconciled with my experience. And just as they drift out they often drift back in, as God moves I suppose.
I can sort of relate to that on a personal level because I know my fervor is not what it once was. I think it's more due to the routine of fatherhood, being a provider and bill payer, house fixer, and raising 3 kids each under the age of 7. But I also think a person's connection to their local church is crucial. I was at a church where my gifts were encouraged and cultivated. I am now at a church where people have little use for what I can offer. I realized just recently that it is impossible for me to change the entrenched situation. The church's focus and communication isn't done in a way that relates to me or really piques my interest. I am not really angry about it but I'm also not naive about thinking I can change something that I cannot. Maybe when I was younger I would have been hurt. But I think that my feeling about life is that there are good things and bad things and you have to accept less than ideal situations if you are to be true to your responsibilities and your relationships, especially with those you love.
My current church is essentially dead in areas where I have gifts. It's akin to a team with a home run hitter who only bunts and runs. So they just ask the home run hitter to bunt. Or it could be like a football team with a wide receiver who can make plays but all the team management wants to and can do is run the football up the middle and play middling defense. It's not that bunt and run or running the football all day are bad strategies or don't serve a potentially great purpose, especially if your a bunter rather than a home run hitter. But the ideal situation would be for the home run hitter to leave the team but he can't because his wife and kids enjoy the city. How's that for thinly veiled analogies! Of course I am the home run hitter as well rather than the hapless, balding guy, who is lucky if he hits .250 in a season. But, when you write the fantasy, you get to be whoever you want to be :-)
I do have sincere faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. It's just that how that looks is much different compared with how it used to look. But it scares me to think what 10 or 20 more years in a somewhat dead place can do.