Monday, October 16, 2006

The state of our youth, part 3

For my last installment on how our society has massively failed our youth, it’s time to put the church on blast. They’re about as big of a culprit as I can think of:

A huge problem that I’ve noticed, being a product of the church myself, is that we spend too much of our time trying to teach and instruct our youth about what’s wrong in our society and not enough time nurturing them with all the right things. There is a huge difference between the two. All we do all day is try to teach them about being sex, temptation and peer pressure, the pitfalls of rap music, drugs, or whatever issues that are current day by vilifying those things. Believe me when I say that all this does is make Christianity seem stringent, uppity, harsh, and boring. Rather than injecting them with all the joy and positivity that comes with following God; and by teaching them about the fruits of the Spirit (especially by seeing those fruits work through us), we focus on the negative elements in the world.

Art curators learn how to spot counterfeit paintings by being exposed to the “right” ones often enough. Bank employees can spot fake bills by seeing and touching the “right” ones. Youth are the same way. They learn about the fake illusions used by the devil by coming in contact with the real Spirit. It’s our job to help them confront their thoughts, questions, and confusions about God by using the Word; as opposed to using our old, traditional, “I-do-it-because-my-grandmother-did-it” practices.

We need to be able and willing to deprogram them and then reprogram them (trust me when I say that this won’t be easy. I’m still trying to break apart from the “traditional” ways of the church myself). If we’re able to tear down their former way of thinking and rebuild them on the true principles of Christ (love, tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, etc.) we have accomplished our job. From there, we can start teaching our youth basic doctrine about God, the Trinity, sin, salvation, Heaven/Hell, daily living, etc.).

If we expose them to enough of the “real” God, – I believe that they’ll develop a desire to walk closer to God and further away from the stuff “out there”. They’ll be a little more mighty in the Spirit, a little more confident in their daily walk and little stronger in their faith (who knows? Maybe even more so than us adults) Most importantly, their behavior (you know, the one that we always try to demonize?) will start to match their outlook on Jesus, salvation, and their duties as followers. Knowing that God loves them will do waaaay more for our youths’ psyche than us telling them how much God hates the 'evil' that they’re doing. Accentuating the benefits of being apart of God’s family have much greater results than focusing on the consequences of not being in it. Showing youngsters the peace and love that comes with following Christ is more captivating -- to me -- than zeroing in on the idea of eternal torment if they don't follow God or if they don't do everything 'by the book', like we claim to.

Again, I apologize for going off on the deep end with this. But, I’m sick of seeing our youth fall behind, do nothing with their lives, and die in the streets, while we (the older folks) sit around complaining about it. As I maintain, the time for complaining and finger-pointing is over. It's time to take action. Never before has this call been more important.

As the Bible reminds us “the harvest is abundant”.

But, why are there so few laborers?


6 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

thehc said...

Hey Andre,
Now that your 27, your now a member of the "older folks"? That made me laugh so hard I squirted Ben Gay all over and spilled my Geritol. You Kids! I'm not really sure I can agree on everything you got going on here. Promoting the more positive side of religion is a good idea, but are you saying that making people feel bad about doing things wrong is a bad idea? When I was a kid, guilt was all that kept me from doing all the bad things that some of conscienceless friends were doing. I know I'm a bit of an "Old Testiment" type, (one reason why I don't call myself Christian) But throwing away the stick and only using the carrot seems misguided. Sure, you'll fill your churches to the rafters with people tired of trying to live up to God's expectations, but what good will that do if they don't know what is wrong as well as what is right? That sounds a little like the Hippie Liberalism I abandoned in the '80's. That it's not my sinning that's the problem, but rather your judgement of it as a sin. Am I missing the point?

Andre said...

"Promoting the more positive side of religion is a good idea, but are you saying that making people feel bad about doing things wrong is a bad idea?"

If that's the bulk of your platform, then yes I believe it's a bad idea and counterproductive. If you think about it, the Gospel is referred to as the "Good News"; the story of salvation, delieverance, forgiveness, and the chance to be welcomed into God's family. Hell or its equivalent is only mentioned minutely in the New Testament. That -- to me -- is an indication that we should be more focused on the positive aspects of the Gospel as well.

By the way, I'd like to think that you'd be more incline to subscribe to Christianity moreso than Judaism. In old Judiac law, you could've been stoned for using a mind altering substance (i.e. marijuana)...


Hippie, you can apply this idea of accentuating positivity to anything, not just Biblical principles. I would place a higher premium on raising my child to grow up using the idea of being a "good" person as the impetus more than to avoid going to jail. Why can't we teach MORE about the good that comes from "doing the right thing" and LESS about the bad that comes from doing the "wrong" thing?

P.S. Please fix your frickin' blog...

thehc said...

*snicker,snicker*. You said I'd be stoned.

Andre said...

I guess I should've said "You'd be pelted with rocks."

Then again, after Reagan's so-called "war on drugs", maybe that's not so good to say either.

Marianita said...

Great post, Andre!

I like the analogies, (ie how do you know a counterfit bill, etc)

I totally agree with you on the "guilt is bad" stuff.

In the words of I don't know who in I don't know what song:

"You've got to accentuate the positive... eliminate the negative"


Andre said...

Hey Marcy (*snicker*),

Thanks for the affirming words from "We don't know who's" song, entitled "We don't know what". It drives hope one of the points I was trying to make.

What's going on in DC?