About a year and a half ago, I had a large Christian magazine agree to write an article I wrote about Jesus welcoming children and the implications that this has for how churches welcome children today. It’s still not in print and, although they’re planning to publish it, the publishing date keeps getting pushed back because more important or interesting topics continue to come up.
Now, I’m not upset with them for pushing my article back, but I worry that this is a symptom of a bigger issue facing the Western Church. We like children. They give us a feeling of energy, warmth, and help us to know that our institutions will continue after we are gone. We love them as the next generation of the church, the church of tomorrow. But do we really see them as the church of today? Sure, we think they’re important–but more important things keep coming up. So we keep putting off seriously talking about children. We struggle to practice what we preach.
Not everyone, however, is thinking like this. Some people recognize the importance of children in the paradigms in which they live and operate. Corporations and advertisers have picked up on the importance of young people and market a significant amount of products to them. They know how important children are to them. But we in the church have been slow to notice the true importance of children. Sure, they make us chuckle when they sing things like “What a friend we have in cheeses” and when they pray for their goldfish. But we fail to see that they are spiritual creatures like us. They make meaning of God and church too. And they matter to God–just read this article I wrote.
So why are we putting them off for “more important things”?