Unaccustomed as I am to stirring up or getting involved in controversy, I must admit when I followed the link to this blog, I felt I had to make a few points.
An overview of the article from my reading is this, Captain Grant Sandercock-Brown wants to point out that some of the culture that makes up The Salvation Army may be an impediment to it being a relevent part of today's society. he comments that:
Since that time, our attendances have nose-dived from 25,000 to 10,500. It’s to a large degree the baby boomers who have voted with their feet, and rather than argue about music styles and old fashioned uniforms, they have moved in droves to churches whose culture speaks their language in terms of what they wear, what they say and what they sing.
That may be true, the only issue is that we are living in the twilight of the Baby Boomer Generation- yes it has been the stick that has stirred the culture and society. It was the elephant going through the python, but now it's time of ascension is now passed. The torch has been picked up by the next Generation, Generation "O". A recent article in the New York Times said this:
Many baby boomers are unlikely to be comfortable with this generation’s technological boosterism and ease with blurred identities and mixed ethnicities. Peter Wolson, a psychoanalyst and former dean of the Los Angeles of Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies, said the crucible of the 1960s helped give baby boomers a deep suspicion of “the other.” Their world was bifurcated: pro-war versus antiwar; communist versus capitalist.
I think the issue is not what appeals to the boomers but what does the church do to be truly relevant.
One of the commentators to the blog, Phil Wall made this comment:
Your questions are uncomfortable for us aging ‘Eupho’ players who have relished playing ‘On Parade’ & ‘Romans 8′- but asked they must be. In a world where thousands die daily for lack of clean water, where young women and children are trafficked to satisfy the sick sexual habits of middle class whites, whilst a billion people live on less than a dollar a day and millions live without the light of Christ - if we do not ask questions about our capacity to connect with this world in meaningful ways at the expence of our own cultural tastes and norms, we have no right to call ourselves Salvo’s. Brass banding has nothing to do with our mission and mandate, it is purely a sub-cultural phenomena and an issue of musical taste. To pretend it is anything else is at best to descend into irrelevance and at worst and act of idolatry.
Here is the relevance to the church, this is what will make us speak to every generation. First of all, music has finally transcended generations. Thanks to this thing called "Internet", people are being exposed and growing to appreciate a great deal of different styles and genres of music. At one time, the time of the Boomers, there was a strong demarcation of music. If you were of a certain age and generation you listened to only one style. You had your groups, your albums your radio stations- now, it's all over the place. People want to enjoy all the types of music and they are finding a lot to like.
Second as for the unimportance of brass bands- okay I play a double B Bass. I am not a generational type, so I can speak how much I enjoy the brass band style of music, even though at first I was a strings type of person. Also, has anyone visited a high school, listen to the music program it is often brass. Kids are learning to appreciate the style of the brass band.
Is this to say we stick in only one style, no, worship invites all styles of music.
What does this new generation want? Do they want a church that plays church or do they want a mission that is vitally involved and connected with the needs of the planet? Do they care if there is lattes available in the front lobby after the service, or a church that is involved in meetings the needs of the world?
Perhaps Jesus gave us the master plan for the church in the parable of the sheep and the goat:
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
This new generation, at least here in North American was galvinized to action by a man called Barak Obama. They heard his message and it reasonated in their minds and spirits. He challenged them and gave them the phrase "Yes We Can".
The church that is genuine, that sees the world as its parish, that is involved in social justice, that is the one that will be a beacon, that city on a hill.
Let me finish with President Barak Obama