Archive for the ‘Boomers’ Category

Thursday October 28, 2010 (4:23am)
 
Things I Think About Late at Night…

It’s the middle of the night. I was asleep for a few hours and now I’m awake again sitting here again in front of the computer. I am still such a night owl. I love this time of night. It’s so quiet and peaceful. My days are filled with so much noise and busyness. I love that too. I love getting the chance to spend my days with so many different people with so many different stories, one on one. There is a lot of learning to play music and learning to live life going on. At the end of each day they leave me with a lot to think about.

There are a lot of things I would like to blog about if I get the time and the energy. I would love to hear from others about some of the issues that keep coming up again and again when I talk to my students. I would love to tell some of their stories. There is so much to learn from them. I would like to talk about how the educational system is failing them and how the adults are failing them by not raising hell at their schools, with the school boards and at the national level to reclaim their chance for an education… about how “no child left behind” is destroying their education and at how much stress they are under. I’d like to talk about how as a generation we have over sheltered them from things that could have made them stronger and then left them to fend for themselves in areas when they really need us to step up and be the adults and the parents and care for them.

I would love to explore more how much having a creative outlet can be so healing for our lives. About art and faith and beauty and how they can go hand in hand. I would love to explore what we could do to encourage that creativity in each other.

I would love to have a deeper discussion about the huge cultural divide between the Christian community and the LGBTG community and what to really do with it… how to build bridges instead of walls.

I would love to look at why there are so many of us who have a passion for Jesus who feel so disenfranchised from the American church, and what we can do with that longing for something more real and authentic with each other.

It would be great to discuss what books and music have had a real impact on our lives. I can think of a list of several great books that have totally effected my life and faith that you’ll probably never see on the shelves of “Christian” bookstores. … and with that why it is that with so much music and so many books published every year, so little of it really has much substance or makes much impact.

Those are just a few of the things rattling around in my head. What about you guys? Are you interested in discussing any of those things? What do you think about late at night? Who knows, maybe this is the beginning of the discussion, and maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to sit down more often to write.

9/21/2010  3:33 am

Recently esquire magazine published a piece by Shane Claiborne that I can’t get out of my mind. He managed to put into words a lot of stuff that I’ve been thinking about lately. I loved Esquire’s intro to the piece:

What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff?

“This radical Christian’s ministry for the poor, The Simple Way, has gotten him in some trouble with his fellow Evangelicals. We asked him to address those who don’t believe.”

He started this way…

To all my nonbelieving, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends: I feel like I should begin with a confession. I am sorry that so often the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians. Christians who have had so much to say with our mouths and so little to show with our lives. I am sorry that so often we have forgotten the Christ of our Christianity.

Forgive us. Forgive us for the embarrassing things we have done in the name of God”

The whole article is well worth the read. I’ll include the link at the bottom of my post. I think what he said struck such a nerve with me because lately I’ve been finding myself apologizing to several groups of people for similar reasons. I’ve been apologizing to my younger friends and students on behalf of my generation. While we’ve been on a quest to “find ourselves” and find the satisfaction with life  we “deserve,” we’ve left them to fend for themselves and have failed to care for and nurture them. I’ve watched so many of my students basically lose their parents to divorce and midlife crisis. 

I’ve found myself apologizing to my younger friends who are believers because while the Bible talks about the older people encouraging and teaching the younger ones, so many of my generation in the church have basically said, “why in the world would I want to do that… I’ve already raised my kids.”  In the process we miss out on some amazing friendships. I learn so much on a regular basis from my friends who are younger. They constantly remind me about what is important. I love their generation’s unwillingness to pretend that everything is wonderful in their lives when it’s not. I love the intolerance for religious b.s., and their desire for their faith to make a difference in their lives and in the world around them.

And, like Shane, I find myself apologizing to my friends who aren’t believers, or who have been so wounded by the modern American “church” that it is a place of pain for them. I remember vividly reading the Bible for the first time. It was all new and fresh to me. The Jesus I found in the New Testament was so appealing to me. I loved the way he interacted with people and cared for them. It really was the good news to me. My heart was captivated by Him. We carry the good news inside us of a God of mercy who came to love, to heal and to redeem us.  God forgive us for presenting Him as mean-spirited and made in our own image. May people catch a glimpse of who He is through their encounters with us.

You can read Shanes piece at:

http://www.esquire.com/features/best-and-brightest-2009/shane-claiborne-1209

5/19/2010

When I’m with my friends who are involved in leading ministries, there’s always talk about “attracting more young people” to get involved. A lot of times they talk about needing more youthful music, or programs blah blah blah. But I don’t think that’s really what the “young people” are after. They are after the same thing those of us who are older are after… they are looking for people who care about them. They are looking for real relationships. They are looking for a place where they can be themselves and where people will help them work through the questions they have and hunt for answers together.

There’s a lot of talk about authenticity lately. I think it’s a good thing. But there’s a lot of confusion about what exactly that is. Some people argue that people use it as an excuse to sin and we shouldn’t. Other’s argue that if we really love Jesus we won’t “smoke, drink or chew, or go with girls that do.”  That’s not what I think of when I think of being authentic.

When I was young, I grew up in a pretty abusive home. I lived two lives… the hellish one at home, and the other that I tried to keep separate. I was afraid to let my friends get to close to my life at home. But the result is that I felt fractured. Part of the healing process for me after I became a believer was allowing God to integrate those separate parts of my life into one person. To me, to be authentic means to just be honest about who I am, how I’m doing and what is going on inside of me, as well as my relationship with Christ. That doesn’t mean deliberately trying to get away with stuff I think or know is wrong. I just means that I don’t try to hide my brokenness.  There’s a freedom in that. It also creates an environment where my friends and students feel more free to be honest with me too.

Most of my younger friends especially thrive in an environment where they don’t feel like they have to hide their brokenness… where they feel like it’s ok to come with their questions, and their anger, or their pain, and know that there are people who will still love them. In the midst of that we can heal together. I’m not interested in big, bitchin’ worship, or zippy video. I’m not interested in great sermon delivery. I’m interested in sharing life with other people who I know will support and pray for me. I love it when the church functions as a family. Here’s to more real connection going on.