Michael Spencer has good ideas. In his article, Subcultural Spirituality or “I know he’s a Christian because I saw it on his bumper sticker.”, he warns against replacing personal disciplines with church campaigns.
I appreciate the need for personal spiritual disciplines. But as individualistic Americans, we’re in danger of substituting them for living involvement with others in the body of Christ.
Perhaps that was one of the deepest problems with our 70’s generation in the evangelical/SBC churches (Michael and I share that cultural background). Looking for community, many of us later sought refuge in more emotional environments, if we didn’t leave the church altogether.
Many of those stumping for spiritual disciplines are still promoting youth rallies, only these youth rallies are held individually, preferably in the morning, with a Bible or devotional book in hand, and no leader to stir up the listener(s).
Emerging churches may be “body art-friendly” but they’re also friends for the emotionally fatherless and the spiritual orphans. Sure, we should stand for the right when they don’t, but we should also ask God to show us what they’re doing right. And that may include more tightly-knit, more un-American communities than we’re used to.