Interlude — How do we fix it?

tomorrowland-movie-logoI am taking a week off from Magical Moments to discuss Disney’s new theatrical release “Tomorrowland”.  There aren’t really spoilers in what follows,but if you are a purist you may want to skip this week and come back after you’ve seen the movie.

Disney’s new film, ‘Tomorrowland’ is being met with mixed reviews by both critics and movie goers, but I don’t want to talk about that.  See the movie or don’t.  Like it or not.  Your choice.  But know this, whatever critics may say about it, what is not debatable is that it is a movie that explores the power of hope.

The main character, Casey, proclaims herself an optimist in the very first minutes of the movie.  As we get to know her through her day-to-day life we see her in a series of classes addressing such issues as overpopulation, global warming, and dystopian societies.  When she finally gets a chance she asks only one question, “How do we fix it?”  Honestly, why isn’t that the only question anyone ever asks?

Why do we debate research methods or validity?  If we act as if overpopulation, lack of resources, and global warming are true and it turns out they are, we might stand a chance of bringing this world back from the brink of destruction.  If it’s NOT true, we get cleaner water and air, fewer hungry people, and scientific breakthroughs that will improve our quality of life.  I cannot see the bad choice here.

Apocalyptic news is old news for those of us in the church.  Mainline Protestant denominational memberships are in decline and have been for quite a while.  Exactly how long varies depending on which research you use.  According to some sources the decline started as long as 50 years ago.  Needless to say when Church leadership realized what was going on, they geared up for action to get the word out about the problem.  They’ve done a wonderful job getting word out about the problem.  No joke, I’ve been listening to the same speech, with different numbers for 30 years.  I’ve been over it for at least half of that time.

Talking about the problem does not fix the problem.  In fact talking about the problem ad nauseam for decades only seems to discourage the people listening.  When we are told for years on end that the church is dying, at some point we are just going to give up and say, “okay”.  Not only that, but how can we reverse the decline if all we focus on is what is wrong?  Negativity and hand wringing doesn’t tend to pack the pews.  Neither does desperation.  People don’t want to join a group that is almost exclusively focused on its own mortality.  I don’t blame them.  That doesn’t sound like any kind of group I want to join, either.

What we need is a self-proclaimed optimist saying, “How do we fix it?”  We need people willing to do something crazy in order to make a difference.  We need communities that are willing to make nine mistakes to find the one thing that works.  Most of all we need to stop talking about the problem and get busy on finding a solution.

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