“The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming.” -Frederick Buechner

I spend a good deal of time thinking about the church and faith on various levels.  I love church history, and looking at trends, practices, and the evolution of what we call Christianity.  It’s impossible for me to remove my own personal experience from that equation, as a guy who grew up in a liturgical, United Methodist tradition; who viewed the rise of the religious right in the 1980’s and 1990’s; who was a part of the seeker-friendly, post-modern mega church movement in the early days of my own ministry;  who experienced being a part of church plants and splits (better spoken, I was a part of a church split that called themselves a plant…I didn’t realize this until I had been on staff for quite a while);  who had great moments of triumph and equally emotional moments of defeat as a pastor; who ran from post-modernism to historical Christianity; and who eventually wound up right where I started…In the little United Methodist Church in which I grew up.

All of those things combined together make quite of pot of hash.  If you don’t know what hash is, just imagine taking all the meat you currently have in your freezer, throw in a hogs head, onions, tomatoes, and whole lot of spices, and let the mix simmer in a black cast-iron pot over an open fire until it tastes good.

That being said, I’m going to do the best I can to describe what the hash is going to taste like once you get a spoon in your hand.  The aforementioned faith ingredients are all mixed up, and I wanted to take a few moments over the days to come to make my best attempt to tell you what I believe the flavor of Christianity is going to be over the next few years.

There are some trends and cultural phenomena that must be considered as you take a whiff of what I’m cooking.  Consider these things we’ll be looking at as the spices that I’m throwing in the pot:

1) Ministry as a “career” vs. “calling”.

2) The evangelical response to growth in orthodox denominations.

3)  Return to liturgical practices:  Here to stay?

4) Fundamentalism vs. Mysticism.

5) Church planting: Evangelical fad or built to last?