Thursday, April 16, 2009

9-Ball, 3, and a missing dollar...

ok, so last night was...yes it was the tax deadline...people were sending ridiculous amounts of tea to various places (the funny one was the box of tea that got sent to the white house that had to be opened with a bomb robot...kind of ironic really, forcing the government to spend more money to diffuse a box of tea that was sent as a representation of wasteful government spending...kind of wasteful if you ask me). nope last night just plain rocked! not for any of the above reason...but rather because only three kids showed up to youth group. now this isn't said in sarcastic tones. actually i loved youth group last night. first, while we waited for more people to come (which ended up not happening) we played pool...yep, pool. we were playing pool and talking about life. it was great, just shooting the breeze. three of them showed up...three of the 'regulars'. after the game(s) of pool we got down to business. started my lesson (which consisted of finding a hidden dollar) and talked about God's forgiveness. it was one of those moments where you feel that while you're talking with the youth, you're getting ministered to just as much as they are getting ministered to. we talked and talked about how God is desperately searching for us. we read through Luke 15 and discussed each story. and because of the small intimate setting, it was as if we could finally be perfectly honest with each other. it was an amazing experience being in a place of pure honesty (at least i hope it was, or those kids are amazing at lying!).

but then it got me thinking...why is it that it takes a small group (maybe 1 or 2) to get the best out of us. and i'm not just talking about youth ministry. i'm talking about life in general. it's only in the small, intimate settings that we allow our true selves to be known. now i'm not saying that we should hold no secrets, but i think we should be perfectly honest with each other in that we should never put on a false front, a poser attitude that steals any sort of authenticity from out lives. if we are always trying to live as someone we're are we supposed to figure out who we are? and more so, how are we supposed to be examples to the coming generations? we CAN'T be! you look at the current span of adolescence (12-28 years old) and you can't help but ask yourself...what's taking so dang long? does it really take 16 years to 'find yourself'? or is it more it takes 16 years of posing before realizing they've wasted the last 15 years trying to be someone they're not? and i think this comes from certain attitudes of generations past. when adolescence was first coined, it was a 6 month period for teenage girls...basically it was a phase of puberty. now it's a major span of one's life. i can't help but think that the continuing deterioration of the older generations' models and the continuing failing of parental/guardian examples and guidance forces the younger generations to try to 'find themselves' on their own or end up following another crowd (which is generally not who they really want to be, just a group that they can feel a part of).

now, this may sound like a complaint about a lot of things that we cannot control...which is remarkably my point. we cannot control how other people live, parent, or act. but we can make this change in ourselves...and how we do that is by living authentic, honest lives. grasping hold of integrity and making it a part of our lives. we cannot live as a poser forever. because as it says in 1 Corinthians, "...when perfection comes, imperfection disappears..."

have a great Thursday!



Charles Meyer said...

Amazing I must say! I have always loved those small settings. But it is a disappointment when people take so long to find themselves. I like to talk about things I can't change too.

Charles Meyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Great post! I think that sometimes our best work with youth comes in those intimate settings. Maybe we should hope for more youth gatherings when only a few teens show up! As to the issue of prolonged adolescence -- you raise many good questions. Why does it take so long for youth to grow up? Maybe it's because we don't expect much out of them.