I went to the hospital today to go through the pre-admittance process for a surgery I am getting next week. If I don’t post after next week, I might be dead due to a complication. I am not planning on complications, so I am planning on writing more during me prolonged recovery process. Lots to say and stuff that really needs to be put down. Part of why I am writing this.
One of the nurses that took my blood and performed the EKG mentioned about her son having issues with church. He is 15 and is not satisfied with Christianity. He has asked to look in to Wiccan and Buddhism, trying to find something that has meaning in his life. I went through this stage, so I understand what he is feeling and why there is this unsatisfied feeling from church and the people there.
Where I go to church, like many churches, the youth program has taken some what of a turn from where it used to be. There is less structure and more leisure activities available trying to keep the kids interested. Churches are trying to be proactive at keeping membership up by trying to make the experience fun. Hopefully along the way, you might hear about Jesus and stuff but the focus is to keep you in the area so that you have a better chance of grabbing hold of that saving experience. This goes for adults as well. I know I have been guilty in the past of telling people to go to church when they are struggling instead of becoming involved like I am called to do. It is easier to pass the buck, especially if you do not have the tools to deal with it yourself.
So, the youth group is full of these little “hipster” kids drinking coffee and playing video games. I love the hipster title. I had seen the kids walking around in skinny jeans before but had no clue as to what the style was as it didn’t appeal to me. It wasn’t until I saw an article in Christianity Today about the Hipster Church movement that I actually had a name to call it. The article was written about the Hipster Christianity movement that is going around now to try and tune Christianity towards those kids who identify as hipsters. I don’t think I have ever typed hipster this many times before in my life. So, the principle is you try to approach the kids on their level. Try to be more fashionable and cool in your dress and appearance so you can fit in with them. Talk about stuff that they identify with. Become one of them. The demographic is supposed to consist of people 18-34, so that is a large group.
Mark Driscoll is a “hipster” preacher. He is also part of the new reformed movement. I am more weary of his reformed roots than the hipster, but if the message of the Gospel is getting out, then some good is happening. Looking at the qualities of a hipster, I think I am some what hipster-ish. Makes me excited that I am part of a group. I refuse to wear the skinny jeans and I don’t do Converse shoes anymore, but I did wear them when they were first created. Tells you I am a bit older than the age range. The problem is I have always been like this. I like some what counter cultural ideas. Looking at church stuff, I identify more with Anabaptists than the Lutheran or Reformed people. I like odd and artistic movies and music. I want stuff that challenges me to think and analyze. I have been the same way and dressed the same way regardless of what group I hung out with. I think I am more hipster than the hipster kids, as the movement, as all movements becomes commercialized and people rush to join it because they do not want to be alone.
So what does this all have to do with the kid who questions? Good question. I know I need to take a more active role with the kids so I can speak from my experiences. Everyone will find a group of peers where they feel comfortable. We are drawn to others and will change the who we are to better fit in so that we are not alone. I don’t know why we don’t speak to this issue more, but for some reason we just don’t. Maybe we are afraid of admitting our weakness and leaving ourselves vulnerable. The point is though, that these movements have always been around. Kids will always be struggling to find their identity as they develop yet the world is not supportive in this process. Media tells us what we are to look like and how we should think. Why not just stop all of that and admit that we are all lost and don’t know exactly who we are? Why not risk being hurt so we can truly experience acceptance and not this watered down version of group conformity? Maybe it cant happen.
What needs to happen in the church, instead of trying to fit in, is to let them know that we already fit in. We have had those experiences and struggles growing up. We have fallen and messed up and here is why and what we learned. Don’t let the people think they are alone in their struggles. I told this woman about my past. I didn’t feel like I belonged to the church I was forced to go to. The people were not what they claimed and I could not stand it. Some people will stick it out so they are not alone, but that is not what I wanted. I rejected God because I didn’t believe in the god they were selling. I wish I could have just told someone there that I didn’t know or feel this god they were telling me about. I would have been rejected and deemed a trouble maker. I know this is true, because when my parents later changed churches they were labeled and talked about by the senior pastor.
This is the kind of church we need. One were people tell the kids and adults about their struggles in their Christian life. Not to make other feel bad or looking for pity, but so the people will know they are not alone. Skinny jeans will never convey that message. I don’t care how much Xbox you play, using it to distract you from the world around doesn’t really help you. There needs to be groups where people can talk openly and freely about what they feel. Talk about the struggles of wanting to date and “be” with someone cause they feel horribly alone. Talk about how the church needs to be more active socially. Help those kids who only have one parent get some attention and feel loved and wanted. This is the church that Jesus talked about. The one where they got to know the people and helped them through their problems and not just acted holy and fixed to those around them.
I prayed for the woman and her son that they would get the help and support that they need. She knows she can talk to me if she needs to as well. I am no longer running from the tough choices. That is part of what I want to write about. Explore the differences in the religions from an honest place. Talk about what Christianity should mean around the world and not just how it is sold to us. It will start out as posts because the information needs to be available and free.