“Don’t cuss. Don’t drink. Don’t have sex before marriage.” That is the message we were pounded with on a weekly basis. “We will give you cool stuff if you come.” That is what we were won with and to. We poured down the isles at summer camp, responding to some version of the Gospel, though it tasted more like watered down whiskey. We went to leadership camps and retreats. Our generation has had more churchy events than any other generation, but we still felt left out. All of that money they dumped into children’s and youth ministry for our generation was wasted. We weren’t interested in your behavior modification attempts.
We designed our own culture, so we thought. It was a result of our continuing education, that education you forced us into. We became the most formally educated generation in the world. We were quite literally too smart for the church, the same church that chose to dumb things down so we could understand. The only thing you accomplished by dumbing things down was making us think your faith was a faith of ignorance. I hope you are paying attention. I hope I am, too. Now, you try and try to strategize, developing idea after idea to try and retrieve my generation from secular society. You haven’t realized that this isn’t even the point of the Gospel. Every attempt of yours is met with contempt and it frustrates you. “How can we reach them?” you ask, “How can we bring them back? “Why don’t they understand?” we reply from our nooks with our pour-over coffees and our craft beers, “Why are they so stuck up?”
Turning over in the anthology of Scripture, I realize something very profound for my own generation; the one that is still lost. God takes the time to reveal Himself in a fresh way to each new generation. Each generation responds in its own way. God causes the previous generations to be an example of either what it means to follow after Him or what it means to deny Him and preach a false gospel.
God is doing the same for us. He has not dumbed things down. The same Christ who blessed the wedding guests at Cana with new wine desires to do a great work in our generation and the next and the next. He does not desire that we simply change our behavior. He wants to give life as a gift. God meets us where we are. He is not bound to the ivory steeple. He is not bound by the rules people invented to seem more spiritual.
Christ ate and drank with sinners. He was called a glutton and a drunkard because of the company He kept. This is the Christ who calls to us now.
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