*SLAP* Did you feel that? *SLAP SLAP* How about that one? *KICK SLAP* Hello? You there? *PUNCH PUNCH SLAP PINCH KICK ELBOW PUNCH* There you’re coming around. I can see the life coming back into your eyes, the thought processes starting to compute, and a realization that you’re not the only one on this planet. Welcome back to the real world…or is it?
Recently I submitted an article to our church newsletter. And as usual, I didn’t have an article ready, so I did what I usually do in this type of situation and submitted a blog entry. When I’m in a pinch and getting a death glare from our Office Manager Duane, I usually find the most relevant, non-ranty post that I’ve done and send that to him. Well, I picked the article about the first week of youth group this year. It chronicled the events and my inner struggles that surrounded that evening. Also, it talked about how I was going to refocus my group to be more of a service oriented youth group. I thought, “Hey, this is good stuff. I’ll submit this so the congregation knows what’s going on.” Seems innocent enough, right?
Monday morning I come into my office later than usual. Then Pastor Gordon comes in to my office. Usually when Gordon comes in, it’s no big deal. He usually just needs to blow off some steam, chat a little bit, or he needs help with his computer at home (I know, I didn’t see that one in the job description eitherJ). So Gordon sits on my couch, we talk a little small talk. Then he says something to the effect of, “Your letter in the Key has had a BIG response.” Now realize, what I submitted was written about two months earlier, having quickly gone through and attaching it to an email. I haven’t actually read it in almost two months. So I’m trying my hardest to remember what he’s talking about, coming up blank. Gordon continues to talk about this response to my Key entry and I’m slowly gaining insight. Turns out that some parents, whose kids don’t come to youth group, read the article. Whoops! Forgot about them. But I’m not too worried. The parents were talking about how there are two teachers that hand out loads and loads of homework for Wednesday nights. Ok, I can understand that, no problem.
Now here’s the part that hit me. I went back and read what I had written and my intent in writing it. It was an encouraging post meant to discourage people from playing the numbers game (bigger is better) and encourage people to do great things with what they have. It was a post about my reaction to what happened when I bought into the numbers game, and my subsequent revitalization and refocus to do big things with the youth that come. What the post wasn’t, was a post complaining about youth not coming. What it wasn’t, was a post complaining about parents not encouraging their kids to come. What it wasn’t, was me lamenting about the yesteryears of youth ministry when everyone in town would come. And because it wasn’t these things, I got kind of annoyed at the parents’ response. The article wasn’t about them. It wasn’t intended to be about them. And it continues to not be about them. So why did they think it was?
The answer: because Adam and Eve ate the fruit. Yep that’s right, narcissism is almost as old as the world and mankind. You may be asking, “How so?” Well, take a look at why Adam and Eve ate the fruit. It wasn’t because it was better than everything else. It wasn’t because the serpent tricked them. It wasn’t even because Adam was a passive man and Eve wasn’t barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. It was because (Genesis 3:5-7) “