Her grandmother’s example bolsters her faith | Faithful Living
By JOAN BAY KLOPE
Whidbey News Times Columnist
September 14, 2012 · Updated 4:07 PM
My paternal grandmother died in 2003 at the age of 97. To help contribute financially to her family, she stopped attending school in the sixth-grade to work, instead.
She married my granddad relatively young and gave birth to five children. She remained faithful to him until his death. Together they owned a modest home situated with acreage on the plains of Oklahoma and remained self-sufficient.
She never drove a car, traveled outside the U.S., or owned a cell phone or computer. She cared for her neighbors and responded in practical and helpful ways as life unfolded. She prayed for her family members and never believed life owed her anything.
I have photo copies of some of her journals and she spends a great amount of time describing her faith and attending church a few miles away in a nearby town, conveniently located near the Post Office and grocery store. Besides her family and immediate neighbors, her church family remained central to her life. She lovingly cooked her best foods for potlucks and attended weekly Bible studies, Sunday school and worship, looking her very best without fail.
I often think of her as I make my way to church. She would understand the love I have for my church family. She would understand my willingness to financially support our pastoral staff, support staff, and take care of our church facility. She would have enjoyed eating the side dish I prepared for the all-church picnic I attended last week.
I doubt, however, that she could begin to understand why the average American spends 10 hours a week on Facebook, Pinterest, or Stumble Upon, but cannot isolate an hour or justify any need to attend church.
Would she have been critical? Certainly not. Her faith and daily interactions with God had created in her a heart of understanding and devotion to Him, no matter the circumstances. She would wonder how people feel connected by typing messages on a computer screen rather than sitting beside a neighbor in a church pew or playing dominoes across a kitchen table.
In the nine years since her passing, daily activities for many Americans have changed. Their faith looks different than hers. If they happen to attend church they may pull out a cell phone to look up scripture using an app and the church’s wifi connection. They may check the church calendar for information posted on a webpage. They will make the choice to attend a church function at the last minute because something more enticing may come up or work demands may stress their free time. And younger members of a church crowd may avoid face-to-face encounters with the older ones because most of their conversations are held online and their topics of interest are far different.
There is a lot more going on at churches than the traditional activities to which my grandmother was accustomed. Stay tuned. There’s more to understand about the changing culture of church and the variety of groups who gather there to help people in our community.