But as the authors of a recently published study called De Toekomst van God (The Future of God) point out, organized prayer in the workplace is just one among several pieces of evidence suggesting that Holland is on the threshold of a new era--one we might call the age of "post-secularization."...Holland's Post-Secular Future, Joshua Livestro, The Weekly Standard, 1/1/2007 issue
Frederick Turner, in Natural Religion (Transaction Publishers, 2006), presents arguments and evidence to suggest that such trends are unlikely to be some new invented structure, some fashion, but that they are part of our evolutionary heritage. The urge to faith, Turner argues, is as natural for us as the will to speak the language of the group we are born into. And he presents compelling evidence that in societies where faith has been rejected as a part of life that birth rates drop so low that such societies, over time, are doomed.
In a recent newspaper interview, a head teacher at a Catholic secondary school in Rotterdam observed, "For years, pupils were embarrassed about attending Mass. Now, they volunteer to read poems or prayers, and the auditorium is packed."...Holland's Post-Secular Future, continued....
One has to be careful about received opinion, such as that of MSM that religion in America is either an organizing method for reactionaries or is otherwise dead. That such a revival would be led by the young is no surprise. Who looks harder for meaning to a life they are just entering into than the young? If you can remember back a year or two, recall the steadily consistent images from the Pope's outdoor masses. The vast proportion of those attending were young adults and children. And many young adults are involved in the creation of wholly new kinds of churches.
The doyen of the Dutch youth churches movement is Henk Jan Kamsteeg. He is a member of the pastoral team...at the Heartbeat youth church, founded three years ago in the medieval market town of Amersfoort...The church, which has a congregation of around 1,200, meets once a month in a Christian cultural center in one of the town's modern suburbs. Kamsteeg witnessed firsthand a phenomenon that, according to the old secularization thesis, was virtually unheard of: large numbers of young people deciding of their own free will to attend church services--and coming back for more. When he announced the first service three years ago, he hired a hall that seated a maximum of 500 people. On the night, 850 turned up--though nothing special had been done to advertise the event. "I've long since ceased to be amazed about the amount of interest in youth churches," says Kamsteeg. "Twelve-hundred people showing up, two services a night, you almost take it for granted. But deep down I still know how remarkable it really is."..."Holland's Post-Secular Future," continued....
Some of the organizing methods are startlingly similar to the early days of Christianity. It is unlikely that John Paul II would have objected. As Malachi Martin reported in several books, including his remarkable roman a clef titled Vatican (1991), Karel Wojtyla felt that the version of the Roman Catholic Church founded by the unification of secular power and sacred values under Sylvester and the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century was disintegrating. He assumed, Martin said again again, that something would emerge, a new Church without the tragic design of becoming a secular power. Papa Wojtyla did almost nothing to straighten out the mess in the Vatican hierarchy. Instead, he went out and preached to the young, hoping they would come to faith, if not to Rome.
Youth churches seem to meet anywhere but in traditional church buildings...The idea is that something that less resembles a traditional church might prove more welcoming to potential new believers...According to Kamsteeg, if Christianity in Holland is to have a future, it has to develop a new way of doing things, possibly also in new locations: "Young people are genuinely interested in Christ. They're just not into two-hour sermons, dreary music, and drafty old buildings." The ultimate consequence of this approach is yet another new phenomenon: that of the house churches...In his living room in the old university town of Leiden, Kees Westhuis, 41, explains the essence of the house church idea: "We don't want to go to church, we want to be a church."...The answer to Westhuis's concerns came to him in the form of a book that has inspired the founding of most house churches in the Netherlands: German author Wolfgang Simson's Houses that Change the World (first published as Häuser, die Welt verändern in 1999). The most appealing aspect of the house church, according to Westhuis, is its simplicity. At its core, the house church is based on the practice of the earliest Christian communities of the first century: small groups of people meeting in each other's houses, sharing a meal and worshipping God. Westhuis: "The idea is that you don't just share a meal once a week, you actually share your lives. It's a radical departure from modern life, which leaves most people feeling increasingly lonely."..."Holland's Non-Secular Future," continued....
Paul of Tarsus would have recognized this; one can imagine him walking house church to house church, exchanging e-mail addresses with people he met instead of dispatching a letter in a scroll by horseback. That was the original Church, before the agreement that led St. Peter's Church into alliance with a series of secular powers, and ultimately to catastrophic defeat, defeat that not only removed any illusion of secular power from the Vatican but severely, if not fatally, undercut its claim as the true and only representative of the faith of Christianity.
This is an astonishing and beautiful development. Read the whole article. Follow up. A house can be God's home.