The other night, I was a part of blowing up Twitter. (Don’t worry, if you’re not on Twitter, you won’t be lost in this article and hopefully there are some things you can glean from it.) But the long story short of it is that I stumbled on a couple of silly tweets that took me back down memory lane as a junior high kid at a Baptist church camp. These posts not only offered a lot of humor to a guy who had been there, but they also offered perspective to how far I have come as a believer and how far we’ve come as a church universal. These posts had the hashtag #DinosaurRoom (I would find out later that it was a parody/response to something else).
So I started chiming in on the #DinosaurRoom and after a couple of hours, the thread started to trend (Twitter informs its users that this is one of the most popular threads) and the fun was over because people who had no clue what we were talking about started posting (thus we “blew up Twitter”).
So I would encourage you to follow this link to the #DinosaurRoom. (WARNING! Once it started to trend, some non-church-related posts were put in that had some colorful language) But in case you’d rather not, here are some of my favorite posts from it.
@aldisal One a scale of 1-10 rate your spiritual life.
@aldisal If you love Dave Mathews Band you will love Third Day
@chadhunt A real church is where songs come out of a book and not off the wall #DinosaurRoom
@All we teach at youth group is “don’t drink, don’t smoke, and don’t have sex” then wonder why kids won’t come to it (paraphrase, but I couldn’t find the actual tweet)
@mlukaszewski Those guys literally ripped a phone book in half with their bare hands, then I got saved. #DinosaurRoom
@aldisal Prayer of Jabez > (is greater than) Lords Prayer
@michaelcaney Guys and girls can’t swim in the same pool at the
@orangedads WWJD squares off against FROG in the
@caseygraham I rededicated my life 5 times in the
@charliewswain When is the best night to make everyone cry at youth camp… the first night or the last night?
I guess you get the point. And as I sat their reading and going down memory lane remembering the way the church and youth ministry used to be, I learned something.
For one, some of the things we look back on and think were so ridiculous were cutting edge back then and that was all we had. Whether it was a flannel board or DC Talk’s “Nu Thang” cassette, it was a big deal. Second, I don’t think we realized some of the legalism because we were too wrapped up in being “churchy” to see that we were totally alienating the rest of the world. Another huge thing I learned from this thread is so much of what seemed to matter a lot then, doesn’t matter any more. Whether it’s contemporary vs. traditional worship, hymnals vs. screens and projectors, personal outreach vs. having guys rip phone books in half, or red vs. green carpet in the sanctuary-it doesn’t matter.
I’ve learned that God is not interested in numbers, he’s interested in people. I’ve also learned that we can be victimized by our own emotions and often force “moves of God” because that’s the way we think it’s “supposed to happen” (Thursday night at church camp anyone?). I also have to remember that it’s more important for me to live the gospel with a friend than it is for that same friend to see some really strong guys break stuff, talk about Jesus, then leave town, never to be heard from again.
But the best thing I learned in the #DinosaurRoom is how many people shared these experiences and grew up-not to abandon the church because she was slow to adjust to technology and culture or because some people were hypocritical or self-righteous, or because “moves of God” were often calculated by our calendars-to embrace her in her brokenness and seek ways to make her better. The guys and girls in the #DinosaurRoom endured an “awkward stage” in the life of the church during the late 80s and 90s. Some of us were youth, others of us were in youth ministry or were pastors. But all of us remember how it was. And although Carman tapes and “Get right or get left” Christian T-shirts may not be our favorite current ways of expressing our faith, back then it simply was what it was and we didn’t know any different. I’m thankful that people love the church with all of her bumps and bruises. Because you know what? Jesus loves her, too. In fact, he calls her his bride.
So I’ll ask you. Do you love the church? With all of her blemishes and flaws, are you committed to her? What’s one thing about the way we do church today that just sickens you? How would you like to change it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.