The nice thing about getting older is there is hardly a mistake you have not made, so you recognize them when they are coming. (Unless one of the not so nice things about getting old has settled in ~ the loss of memory). I awoke this morning with a simple observation that I don't have time to flesh out, but will simply state and develop later. Here it comes and it is breathtaking (or disappointing) in its simplicity: The problems with American Christianity are spiritual and intellectual not tactical or strategic. The meaning of it should be plain on the surface, but the importance for the next generation is profound.I came to this insight while thinking about the many conferences aimed at next generation church reformers. I observed that they are generally not intergenerational, still lean towards programmatic over relational, but most significantly ~ they tend towards the tactical, methodological and strategic over the intellectual and spiritual.This stands in stark contrast to L'Abri where theologian/philosopher Francis Schaeffer teamed with art historian Hans Rookmaaker to serve next generation seekers.Think of the long shadow cast into today's younger generation by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as inspired by the Inklings, a gathering of friends -- British and Christian (though with diverse theological vantage points), most of them teachers at or otherwise affiliated with Oxford University, many of them creative writers and lovers of imaginative literature -- who met in C.S. Lewis's and J.R.R. Tolkien's college rooms in Oxford during the 1930s and 1940s and later in various Oxford pubs, between the 1940s and 1963 for readings and criticism of their own work, and for general conversation.Today's younger generation is eager to create culture, but too often think of this as a tactical strategic move ~ get more Christians in film, music etc.But what will they produce when they get there if they are lacking in the spiritual and intellectual weightiness from which great, lasting work springs?This is a serious issue and one to which I hope those who are able will attend ~ I myself must turn my attention to preparation of Sunday's sermon as I play my small part in equipping our little flock for the work at hand on a little Island called Orcas.Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.