That is what Tristen asked me tonight as I was reading aloud to the girls. "What's a pew?" We recently started a new book, Ginger Pye, and the second chapter was about the kids dusting pews in the church building. It never crossed my mind that in just a short generation churches have changed that much. I hadn't realized that my kids haven't really been part of a traditional looking or feeling church (or at least they can't remember one). But if you stop and think about it, church these days is not what it was just 10 years ago. Now this idea that my child doesn't know that a pew is actually a church bench that you sit on during a service doesn't mean that we aren't a church going family. It says nothing for the truth that she comes from a strong, conservative Christian family. Not to mention that her grandfather is a pastor and her parents are Bible college graduates. What is says is that most churches we have visited in the last few years have turned away from the traditional looking church. Pews, stained glass, choir loft, hymnal, little spot for the communion cup or a kneeling bench are gone. As I explained it and kept reading, I found it hard to fully accept this concept. My kids probably won't ever think of church in that traditional way and likely that image will fade quickly away in just a few years.
Now don't get me wrong, I fully understand that church is truly the body of Christ, not the building that holds the gathering. But part of me is a little sad to see the common reference point disappear. When I am reading about these kids cleaning the church pews I can picture it in my head, but I am not sure that in generations to come, that will be an familiar image for them. I wonder if they see video monitors and folding chairs and a drum set up on the stage instead of a pulpit. I am pretty sure my kids don't picture a pulpit when they picture a church in their minds, because Tristen also asked what that was.