One of the things we have learned from the study of evolution is that species do not necessarily evolve unless threatened by extinction. When 90 percent of our world was covered with water, the early aquatic species of our planet had no need to change. However, as the water began to recede over a period of thousands of years, many of these species, in some unexplainable process, began to grow legs and lungs. Possibly more importantly, they had to give up their gills and fins. I find this both fascinating and telling.

I don’t think there were any meetings to discuss or vote on how these species were going to have to change. Nor do I believe there were consultants who offered their expertise about how they could save themselves by doing what they were doing, but to do it better.

As participation in our local churches continues to drop like a rock across the country more churches continue to close. One has to ask if there is future for the church in particular and for Christianity in general. There are plenty of commentators who are predicting total demise within the next few decades. Quite frankly it is hard to argue with them. The numbers offer no indication there will be a meaningful future for either, at least as we think of them today.

However, we do know human beings are social animals. We like to create communities. We like to have places where we can talk about deep and important things. I remember hearing a highly respected conference minister in the United Church of Christ say something during his retirement banquet that has stuck with me for nearly three decades.

He said, “I am no longer certain who and what Jesus was, and I have no idea if I believe in God or if life has a purpose. But I do know I want to be around people who are interested in these things.”