Sunday, December 21, 2008

More on Young People

After my recent post about young people, someone commented with this:

So what should you do if you happen to know that quite a lot of youth are living private lives which might just slightly shock the elders in their church? Not to say that none of the youth are wonderful and all.

I'd really like to hear from young people in particular on this.

What is cause for alarm? What isn't? How can older people intervene effectively?

I realize we all have different standards of what is alarming. I spoke at a church recently where they had just been made aware that the young people were smoking pot in the parking lot during church services. And then on the other end of the pendulum swing we have the example that made my kids hoot with laughter the other morning: that when I was their age we were supposed to part our hair exactly down the middle and if we wanted to be a little bit cool and rebellious we would part it ever so slightly on the side, like half an inch. And in between we have my niece who is in on troubling information about what her seemingly straitlaced friends are actually doing while their parents and the church are oblivious because they look so good during daylight hours.

But hey, from hair to pot, it's all about where your heart is at.

So, young people and young at heart, I want to hear from you about this. Answer the specific question or ramble, I don't care.

Quote of the Day:
"Most of the time big women are, like, comforting, and skinny women are, like, grouchy. [pause] No offense, Jenny. Or Emily."
--Jenny's friend Deana


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. KaraBeagle: Wow. Thank you for sharing that.

  3. We older ones could do much better if we changed the jaundiced, stereotypical disposition of the heart that works from the premise of "Moron young people."

    (If such a disposition or premise exists in hearts.)

  4. Young people these days are rebellious, They don't respect their elders or their parens, and do all sort of mischiefs. Our civilization is going the wrong way.... Socrates 469 BC–399 BC

    I find this comforting. But would definitely draw the line where the youngsters put themselves or others in danger.

  5. It seems like this is another issue where moderation is important. There are parents who are totally oblivious to the terrible things their children are doing (I can't help but think that they really know but don't know what to do about it) and will defend their children's innocence until they are blue in the face. Then there are parents who don't give their children ANY room to make their own responsible decisions because of fear.

    It is vital for parents to start at an early age to cultivate a relationship of trust and openness with their kids. Be honest with your kids. Be a parent first, but also be a friend.

    If young people know you (as a parent, church elder, parent of a friend etc.) to be someone who treats him or her with respect and genuine interest, you're going to be received much better when you ask a young person serious questions or express concern for him or her.

  6. One thing that seems to happen in our church is that the "older" people barely pay any attention to the youth unless they are doing something wrong. But wait until something is said about them leaving the church and whoosh... everyone goes and talks to them and tries to be their friend. They really should have been trying to build a relationship back before it seemed like there was something wrong!
    And don't get scared if you hear that a young person is asking a lot of questions and/or questioning the way things are done because if we don't we will end up doing things just because its the way the church says to do it and not because we actually believe the Bible says we should.
    As far as what to be alarmed at..I think it totally depends on who it is and where their heart is. Which if you get to know them good enough you will soon be able to tell what their heart is like.

  7. Proud of you for tackling this subject. All of us were young folks easy it is for us to forget that and expect perfection (based on my standards of course).
    But...what I want to comment on is the quote. I love it!! LOL

  8. We all have "Hot Button" topics and this is one of the top on my list I am almost 30 yrs old and would like to think that I can maturely reason through these things by now but I still get angry when these sorts of subjects come up. And opinions.. yes well I have my share but you already knew that=) I'm sure some would credit it to "unresolved issues" in my own life. I personally feel this need to fight for the hurting, the under dogs and the missunderstood.

  9. I'd like to suggest that young people aren't the only ones who fly below the radar thinking they are somehow above being "found out". Whether it's a part in the hair (something I grew up thinking was part of salvation), or smoking pot. Generally, we as parents have provided an example of exactly where our line is on heart issues like honesty, truthfulness, discretion, servanthood, etc.. For the youth of today, here's something my parents told me upon hearing something "bad" we children were doing. "Live your life to prove their accusations a lie". Simple, yet profound, and it's stuck with me all these years.

  10. Too many youth (and adults) have fine-tuned their reasons for abercant behaviors. This alone is a telltale sign of a argument that ensued with their conscience and the Holy Spirit. So when one 'listens' to these arguments, one is lending credibility to their side of the argument with their conscience. It is a battle fought in the spirit/soul of man; never forget that. I am not sure many who 'step' over the line would like to be dealt with in that realm because they fight so hard.

    Wish I knew this when my children were still at home...

  11. My heart was always to do what God wanted. But I was psychologically marred and could not make my will comply. Within a week or two of finding out I was pregnant, I went to the elders of the church, who thought it best that I go before the congregation and confess before I started to show and rumors started to fly. I had no problem with this, because my heart was to be honest--my heart longed for healing, and deep down I knew I could not get there without honesty. Unbeknownst to me at the time (indeed, I did not find this out for 20 years!) the pastor of the congregation had been having an extramarital affair. But his sins were kept in the dark. I think I got the better deal.

    I ended up leaving that church eventually, shortly after my child was born; and I found another church, a church that offered healing rather than criticism (this not to say that some in the old congregation did not accept me--some were supportive, some were not; but I could not endure those who were not.)

    The new church offered acceptance and restoration and my life completely turned around. But it took the wisdom of people to really look at me and see me, not with eyes to criticize, but with eyes to heal and restore.

    We MUST see people with God's eyes. People often quote John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life" but they need to go on!! "For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him".

    It is God's own heart that all people be redeemed to him--not that all people "be good" or act according to a certain standard, but that all people come into a relationship with God, that everyone learn their immense value to God, that everyone experience the healing that comes from knowing God (and the behavior will follow, eventually).

    He is able to do abundantly more than all we ask or imagine. He can fix us where we are broken, even if we don't know that we are broken or where we are broken. We are his dearly loved children, and he wants to walk with us and lavish us with his love....

    If we are going to help those around us (everyone, not just the youth), we have to start by having God's heart for them. We have to be sure they understand their incredible value, just as they are. We need to not focus on "fixing" the behavior, but on fixing the inside --and no one can even begin to be fixed on the inside until they start to comprehend their true value to God, and that can only be done by a relationship with God. We need to see deep--we need to see people with God's eyes.

  12. "So what should you do if you happen to know that quite a lot of youth are living private lives which might just slightly shock the elders in their church? "

    So, I guess my answer (though I am not young--I speak from experience) is that everything needs to be brought into the light. Not exposed so that they can be condemned, but exposed so that healing can come.

  13. I think that the main difference between youth and older people is that many youth think that the pleasures of sin will erase their hurts. We older ones may have found that doesn't work, but we use other methods to make life work for us. No matter our age, until we let Jesus deal deeply with our hurts and sins we won't be very effective in helping anyone else with theirs. Jesus said we must get the beam out of our own eye before we can remove the speck from another's eye.

    Most of us have a great deal of pride which doesn't let us easily admit that we have fractured hearts that need healing. As a young person and beyond, I had a solid wall up to protect myself from being hurt further by people who were not genuine. Young people can tell.

    For those who are concerned for their youth the starting place is obvious...

  14. "What is cause for alarm? How can older people intervene effectively?"
    Ohhh! the age old problem morfing from one generation to the next but seemingly forever present.
    As a young person all I wanted was someone to genuinly care, listen and love me. and from that position they had free reign to comment, intervene, and advise all they wanted. outside of that base relationship...forget it.
    We could all do with a little less criticism and leagalism and a little more soul felt love...this of course takes a tremendous ammount of TIME and EFFORT. Its not going to happen overnight.
    Now I'm "all grown up" and the older I get the easier it is to criticize. ...just as youth have their weaknesses, we have ours. the older we get the more it seems we know how things ought to be.
    my oversimplified advice. keep it simple and sincere. SALVATION is of the essence and really the rest, as important as it seems doen't matter all that much in the end.

  15. hey "Me"..I just had a similar discussion with my pastor about church "authority". Basically, I told him the same thing, which is true for me now, that if there is a love-based relationship there (the key word being relationship), then there is authority; but if there is no relationship, there is no authority... (the topic was authority of elders and pastors over the congregation--and when that authority would be honored).

  16. QOTD: Oh, Please, surely this wasn't my child! I wonder where she places me!

  17. WOW.
    Lets be involved with our youth, but not act as one??!!
    I think another thing is we are so busy with our lives, that we push them aside, thinking just grow up. Then when we want time with them they don't want us. Mary

  18. Wow!!! I am the one who posted that comment, and I never expected you to actually take it seriously. I was feeling cynical after having spent an evening with some people from my youth group and thinking about what their parents might have said or thought had they seen everything that happened. Afterward, I started to wish I hadn't left the comment, since I really liked what you had to say about the youth in your church. Anyway, I just came back to your site today and read your new post along with its comments. I think a lot of your commenters had some good things to say. I don't think my youth group is likely to start smoking pot in the church parking lot, but there are some things happening and some things that have happened that I think are wrong, not just because they disrespect authority but for other reasons, too. In my opinion, one of the most important things is that older people and parents maintain a good relationship with their youth, see them for who they really are, and teach them truth and the reasons behind things. Almost everyone goes through a rebellious stage of their life, but for some people it lasts a long time. In my experience, the people who had a good relationship with their parents or some older person were usually the ones who actually eventually quit the things they were doing and brought them to the light. And I do have some really nice people in my youth group. Thanks a lot for your post.:)