Photo: AP via Daily Mail
At the core of culture is the child, wrapped in a family and embedded in a community of faith: Faith, Family and the Child (the future of the world).
My guess is that for the next hundred years or even longer economies will churn a lot as the ever-deeper breakthroughs in physics and biology get harnessed in new technologies, “the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one” (Schumpeter, 1942). As a particular source of income dries up many people will likely have to migrate in search of new income. That migration will upset the stable relationships that make cultural patterns possible.
Migrants feel intensely the need for a welcoming community. Where are they most likely to find it? In places where people of their own faith, race, and language live. And when they cannot find such religious and ethnic compatibility they will seek community among those who share their view of life, who share their faith and who worship as they do. It is there they expect to find those who will welcome them, treat them kindly and make them feel at home despite obvious differences.
These also are the folk they will trust to educate their children: good people who share their values and beliefs.
Such religious locales are the hothouses that grow nurturing micro cultures. And as the world churns and migrants flow because of war or economics such new micro cultures will continue to sprout and grow into vibrant new communities. In the United States we are used to seeing this happen in our major cities as this pattern repeats itself again and again with each new wave of immigrants.
However it is now happening across the globe wherever more affluence and work act as magnets to those fleeing violence or poverty. Thus, even as economies churn, cultures also churn.
And most of us and our children are going to be displaced in some way by the churning of the emerging economic orders. Migration in the US has always been, not only for new members from the outside, but also within the country, frequently by those whose ancestors came generations ago. We are a migratory people, increasingly so.
For the world to be a welcoming place for families with children (the families that give us the future) places of worship will be the hub around which the necessary cultural patterns will emerge.
Places of worship will need to be deliberate in their “full family service” if they are to be the community magnet their new members need them to be. And in meeting this need the Church is building, parish by parish, congregation by congregation, the strands of the new culture, the patterns of support and celebration from the cradle to the grave.
Pat Fagan is the director of the Marriage and Religion Research Initiative at The Catholic University of America. He is publisher and editor of Marripedia.org. Republished from the MARRI blog with permission.