To Be Cool and Relevant
One female reporter from a small town that I recently stopped at on my trek across the country asked, "what would you suggest for keeping the traditional churches going? How to make sure they don't just close up? Here, they are drying up while the evangelical church is new and is flourishing?"
I can't confess to have the real answer but I did vouch to say, "In our temple we are turning management over to the younger generation. They are bright, bring in fresh ideas and make it relevant." We discussed how the world is moving at an incredibly rapid rate and it appears the elder sector can't maintain the level of attraction needed while the principles and values do require their honourable input.
"So you're suggesting to give it over to the young people?" she reiterated.
"To survive you might have to try something," I said. I contemplated how the Catholics made major adjustments through Vatican II in order to be more relevant. I'm not sure that it worked. I was raised Catholic.
I had taken a forty minute walk to and from the Bhakti Lounge at the corner of Church & Dundas Streets. The room was full of young people totally keen to have a spiritual experience through chanting and a prasadam meal to follow. I pondered on what attracted them to the place and why they had a good experience as I took my steps after the program.
My simple list of reasoning goes like this:
1) The host, Mangal Arati, is personable and very welcoming.
2) The loft is cozy, not too large and has a warm feeling
3) The host is fairly young which often times attracts the young.
4) The vegan meal (prasadam) was good, healthy, and tasty
5) The topic (about chanting) and the execution of the chanting was interesting and fun.
6) The atmosphere offered a sense of family or community feeling.
7) The presentation was outwardly exotic and inwardly authentic.