Here is the question that I find myself asking the “spiritual but not religious” self-procaimed, the vast bland majority of the American religious landscape who perceive themselves to be a unique and interesting minority.
Here’s my question to the “sunset person” the person who finds god in the sunset, the one who is spiritual but not religious and then things suddenly break down and something unfair or tragic happens.
Who are you, (they may ask) the god of sunsets and bunnies and chain emails about sweet friends?
Who are you, cheap god of self satisfaction and isolation?
Who are you, god of the beautiful and the physically fit?
Who are you, god of those who can afford to go on vacation to Hawaii and find you in the sunset?
Who are you, god of the spiritual but not religious, god of the lucky, chief priest of the religion of gratitude.
Who are you and are you even worth knowing?
Who are you, god whom i invent?
Is there, could there be a more interesting God who invented me?
Our unwillingness to acknowledge the cross as well as the incarnation has deceived us into believing that we are justified in neglecting a great many adolescents who at first respond to our offers of friendship with ridicule and aggressive rejection. The incarnation has made these very children our responsibility, our beloved brothers and sisters. We must reach out to their humanity even if it means the suffering of our own humanity, for this is the way of the cross. It may be that the reason they don’t trust our offers of friendship is that they intuitively know that we are not willing to see, hear and accompany them in their deepest suffering. We have offered them trips to Disneyland, silly games and “cool” youth rooms, not companionship in the darkest nights, their scariest of hells.
Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry by Andrew Root page 96
if that’s youth ministry i think i’ll sign up for another 50 years of it…
If a church wants to be relevant to teenage boys, there are plenty of other ways, including handing out pornography and offering beer-on-tap. You could throw in condoms and cigarettes and call it a night. But this raises an important questions: Why Halo 3? Why are exceedingly violent video games par for the course, but bare breasts on a piece of paper completely out of the question? One could easily argue that the video games are the more harmful of the two. All of this leads us back to the same basic problem with American Christianity: we are prudes about sex, but connoisseurs of violence.
– D.W. Congdon
Link: Youth Ministry