Thursday, September 13, 2007

working in reverse

In my brief stints as a youth minister (once by title, once by default), I was frequently asked "what is the problem with kids behavior? They go to church, why do they not believe differently than their peers?"

It's a valid question. I think over the past few years, largely under the guidance of living mentors who helped me articulate it, but also under the spiritual guidance of the saints of old, I have come up with a beginning to solving the problem. It may seem like "duh", but here it is: Being disconnected from our foundational doctrine of salvation, which was basically martryiology (the one who gives their life confessing Christ is the paradigm of the saved one). It was thought that as a natural extension of accepting death to this world, that the person would then behave accordingly. Hope of the resurrection frees you from the demands of this world, so that you can then behave in obedience only to Christ.

The problem is that we tend to work in reverse. We tend to want people to behave their way into a life of servitude. But we end up with the same problem that many medical cures face - we treat symptoms while the disease remains.

But of course it's more difficult to treat problems at the root. It's like paying off the national debt. It seems insurmountable, so instead we try and "manage" it. The Church ends up like a constant source of aspirin, constantly numbing the effects, and just waiting for the pain to flare up again, at which point we up the dosage. This process leads to a kind of numbness... a lax life built on a regimen of sedatives that gradually increase in potency. When aspirin will no longer suffice, then we go to morphine or opium, and so it continues. But how to get at the cancer itself?


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