Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willamon’s book Resident Aliens opens with these words:
Sometime between 1960 and 1980, an old, inadequately conceived world ended, and a fresh, new world began. We do not mean to be overly dramatic. Although there are many who have not yet heard the news, it is nevertheless true.
To make their point, they tell the story when “one of them” (though they don’t admit which) made a pact with six other youth group members to enter the front door of church on Sunday evening, then slip out the back to join John Wayne at the Fox
Theatre. On that night in 1963, in Greenville, South Carolina, the Fox Theatre opened on a Sunday.
Doing so was in defiance of the state’s time-honored blue laws. By doing so, the Fox Theatre went head to head with the church on who would provide the worldview of those seven teenagers. Before that day, the church was the only show in town. Think of how much our culture has changed in just the last 55 years. Sunday is now just another day of the week.
America’s founding seemed like an exodus, but now we’re in exile. Just like Hauerwas and Willamon, we too are resident aliens. But, we’re not the first: This week’s Scripture in 1st Peter makes clear that Jesus’ followers have always been strangers in this world (and some of us are stranger than others).
While we’re not the first resident aliens, there are less and less people committing to Christian faith these days - especially among young people. That’s the reason for our Summer Book Study on Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. I hope you’ll join in.
We aren’t the first resident aliens, and if we all work together to “help young people discover and love Good Shepherd,” we won’t be the last!