“I just heard the news today, seems my life is gonna change.”
Creed, With Arms Wide Open
Babies change our lives.
Scott Stapp wrote the song that embodies the change children create: “With Arms Wide Open.”
“With Arms Wide Open” won the best rock song at the 2000 Grammy’s. It was Creed‘s only #1 single.
Creed is my favorite rock band from the 90’s. I would play their songs for my students. The speakers would blare the pulse-pounding songs as I lifted weights. I have watched the videos on YouTube over and over. Creed spoke to me about life, about my life.
I was reminded of Creed‘s hit song as I listened to Mary Eberstadt discuss her new book.
Mary Eberstadt is interviewed by Ken Myers on MarsHill about How The West Really Lost God. Sociologists have maintained in the past that changes in religious belief drive changes in family. Eberstadt maintains that the decline of formation of natural families has made Christian belief less believable. The lack of babies, Eberstadt says, has contributed to the secularization of Europe.
But, Eberstadt tips the idea upside down: family practices change religious belief. Eberstadt says Christianity has depended upon the family for its own transmission.
Christianity depends on the family to tell its own story; it’s the story of a baby, of parents who sacrifice for a baby, of a holy baby. Christianity depends upon the actuality and metaphor of the family. If society does not have children, it makes sense that the churches are empty. Families depend on children and religious expression depends on the family. Flourishing of religion relies on the flourishing of marriages, of families, of having babies. More families equals more church.
“Having children drives people to church. Most young couples enter church with a baby in their arms. Parents want a like-minded moral community.”
A religion dependent upon the metaphor of “family” needs babies to whom the story will be told.
Scott Stapp was changed by a baby. It seems family contributed to his decision to return to the Christian faith. Stapp’s experience may not be any different from other rock musicians. Life changes for rockers when they have babies. [Do read Denis Haack’s critique of a the documentary “The Other ‘F’ Word“.]
Babies change lives. Not having babies also changes lives.
Perhaps the answer to the question is “Will our churches be filled with babies?”
The Church is about The Baby, Jesus.
The story of Jesus will be told by babies.
Mark loves babies; his grand-daughter makes that easy. Mark also loves The Church. Dr. Mark Eckel teaches about The Church, babies, and more as Professor of Leadership, Education & Discipleship at Capital Seminary & Graduate School (www.bible.edu).