Tuesday, December 30, 2014
But despite the associated arrogance, I truly think my generation is on to something in our desire for authenticity.There are several things going on here worthy of comment. It's not wrong to want people to relate to where you are at any moment in your life...BUT!...you also need to understand that from the perspective of my years - some 30 since I finished graduate school, the struggle of undergrad, which seemed enormous at the time, just aren't. The "fake happy" isn't always fake, sometimes it is a reflection of lessons learned in a life much longer than Jordan's and the lesson is that life is what you make of it, that I can chose to be happy in the midst of difficulty. It is an effort and a choice - that's not fake, just effort.
You see, the hardest years of my life came in college. For a while, it seemed like every week brought a new disaster that I had never faced before. As one event piled on top of another, I became a mess. My usual happiness turned to sadness, my usual good decisions turned to bad decisions, and my usual faith turned to nothing but questions.
I desired to be a part of a church that got it.
That got my struggles. My sin. My doubts.
All I wanted when I entered the doors of church was to find people who would bear my burden and remind me of whom God was, because quite frankly, I wasn’t sure anymore. Unfortunately, so many times, it seemed like the God people were pointing to was one that would want nothing to do with me and, if I was being honest, I didn’t know if I wanted anything to do with him.
Either everyone was really happy all the time with no problems, or they were being fake…and I was in no position to play the Fake Game.
And, it is something that I chose to model for the young people around the church. They have to learn it sometime and somehow. That does not mean I should be an insensitive jerk when they express their problems, but it does mean I want them to see there is a better way than to whine and wallow.
When I reads this, what I see is not that I need to be somehow more "sensitive" to Jordan's concerns, but that I need to learn how to break through his innate narcissism. How do I get him to listen to something besides the sound of his own voice? My own experience at that age tells me that we old folks often can't. That somethings just have to be gone through - but with this generation the narcissism is much deeper than it was with mine - I do not know if patience is enough.
Of course, prayer, and then prayer again. I also am increasingly convinced that meeting them on their own narcissistic ground is not always helpful. The "come as you are" he so pangs for is how God takes us, but it is not wear He leaves us and if we focus on that too much, we do not move forward.
I think the magic happens in relationship, not institution. That's what we really need to think about. Relationship.
church relationship youth