Having lunch not too long ago with a dear friend we exchanged the latest and greatest happenings with each other. She began to share how she was not so happy at her new job. In fact another mutual friend who was also hired on at the same location had already made the decision to quit. She felt completely out of place, but beyond feeling like a misfit, she struggled with the environment itself. You see she found herself leaving the quiet of the small country town, where the talk of the week is the bake sale for the kindergarten class or the chili cook off, a place where ol’ time hymns are still sung with spirit on Sunday. However on Monday she would find herself walking in to an office where she is the oldest one there….a place were tattoos and piercings are the norm and the language is acceptably colorful. I understood her awkwardness and identified with it. However 20 years ago it was I that was reprimanded for coming to the office with a new nose piercing by a manger that could easily pass for my father. It was I that had to listen to the oldies and cringe as I worked….or better yet get a giggle at the double take I would get each time I added a new streak of color to my hair. Now I know my attitude was not the best. I made a point of ruffling feathers of those I had no idea how to identify with. This lead me to ask myself could we be doing the very same thing to our teen and young adults? Do we purposely turn down their music? Are we unnecessarily shooting dirty looks for every four letter word that comes out of their mouth, despite the fact they are not even speaking to us at the time? Are we unnecessarily trying to “rub” them away because that way we do not have to change?
Now I am in no way stating that we should condone bad or mean behavior. That is not my point. My point is what are we doing to bring the Lord to the as they are? In order to do that we must meet them where they are! You can not drag them out of their world and expect them to be happy in your own little bunker where it is safe. They will not come. They will run. I would run! So you may not like their language. That is your problem, not theirs. They will change their language only when it becomes their own problem. The only way that will happen is thru the growth of their relationship with Christ. Christ will work within them…they will need time to grow. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.
When you head out to work, to school; do you try to take your bunker with you? I have seen it! Of course I am not talking about some kind of huge box on wheels…but I might as well be. This is an invisible bunker. The bunker is a place of uniformity and safety. It is comfortable; it feels like home. In this bunker, we can be ourselves, accepted for who we are, because we are a lot like everyone around us. Do you refuse to go where you can not take your bunker?
…One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound judgement. Proverbs 18:1
If you choose the way of the bunker you are feeding a very selfish motive, because it’s easy and comfortable. You will not be put out. You will not have to “put up” with any annoyances like loud music. The sound judgement you are ignoring is the Holy Spirit asking you to move…to speak….and most of all to love…Love the unloved….to love the love-less…
One who loves to offend loves strife; one who builds a high threshold invites injury. Proverbs 17:19
It’s not the young that is causing strife, it’s the ridged held up in their bunkers. They grumble….”Did you see that kid, they cleaned out the candy bowl”….”we can’t play THAT song (even once a month) it gives us a headache”….”They need to sit still”…..”They are smoking in the parking lot!” The static can get so loud the message gets lost. We are the offensive with our conditions and rigidity. The ridged create a threshold that this generation can not meet. It’s no longer about meeting Christ, it’s about being “acceptable” to the elite core of the congregation. The injury could have an impact of eternal consequences.
Short video of interest: http://vimeo.com/226079