Saturday, March 7

What makes a Cast Away Christian? Reason #2

So I talked about the first problem plaguing young adults which I think is society. The second part is a little harder to talk about because it might hurt people to hear. I think that my parents (and hopefully yours) did the best job they could with what they had. I owe a lot to my parents. They have fed, clothed, and cared for me my whole life. I could always count on them when I needed them. Mothers put their lives on the line every single time they choose to give birth and I think, in this day and age, we forget that. Whether our parents have always done what we wanted them to do, most of them deserve our respect. With that disclaimer on the table, I think another problem for young adults is not only society but our parents generation.

The result of the "Swinging Sixties" is that generation wanted to break free from their oppressive parents and be free to think on their own. So they taught our generation to be independent and to think for ourselves in a way that no generation before us has. People in our generation don't get married until their late twenties or thirties, some move far away from home for school or a job at a very young age, some travel the world alone before they are even 25. Our parents taught us that our independence is our only weapon against the complacency of their parents generation. And with that independence comes a lack of learning to build community. We have learned to be our own support system when we are far away from our families and we have learned to live alone for much longer than the generations before us. Women can fix a flat tire or hook up TV's and stereos, while men can cook and do laundry. The stereo typical roles that required us to depend on the opposite sex have gone away. I am not saying that is totally a bad thing, but it does cause us to stop depending on one another for survival. We also have learned from increased news coverage that the people around us are scary, so we lock our doors and don't open them for anyone. We also are a much more transient generation who rent places to live for a while before settling on one place to buy which makes us less likely to get to know our neighbors.

All this leads to a certain amount of isolation that no one was prepared to deal with. We need to find a way to take the freedom that our parents generation fought for and apply it to this world. There is a way to show strength and independence without forgetting that, as Christians, we are called to be in community with one another.

1 comment:

  1. You are right on that again... I think we sometimes get gun shy because we worried that our comments might hurt those dear to us. I personally am guilty of that... by either not speaking up at all or making some generalized statements to "make everyone happy".

    I think as Christian communities, it's OK to disagree with one another from time to time. The key here is the way we should handle the disagreements.

    I have seen it happens where a simple argument got out of hand. I might or might not told you this. But for other readers, what I am about to present is not a way people in Christians community should be when there are disagreements.

    Setting: My former church

    Date: a Sunday in January 2007, a few weeks my former rector was into his job

    People: My former rector, me, my parents, people from the Mandarin-English service (at the time), and a member who attends the 11 a.m. service, but haven't been attending the church for years

    Conflict: Going from 2 services (English-Mandarin and Cantonese) to 3 services (English, Mandarin, and Cantonese), where the failures of this experiment still was in a lot of people's memory.

    The scene: It initially started as a discussion from my former rector about expanding the services from 2 to 3. However, because a lot of the Mandarin-English service people still remembered the failures, they objected the idea. But, the discussion soon spiraled into an out of control argument because of a few things.

    1. My former rector improperly used his authority as rector in this spot. After all, I don't think it's right for any clergy to yell at his/her lay members just to get his/her point across. It's also not right to send a message of, "I am the rector. I would decide what's best for the church here." In certain spots, this is right. But, as I would mention in my next point, that's an exception where the rule doesn't apply.

    2. My former rector was also stubborn and didn't do his homework. The idea had failed only 2 years before his arrival and he's a newcomer in the U.S. If I were a rector, I wouldn't try something as radical as this that had failed in the church's recent history.

    3. My former rector's mandarin is not really good at the time (don't know about now). Bringing in someone who hadn't been to the church for a few years as an interpreter made matters worse.