Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Confession... and Hope for a Starving Generation

I have been thinking lately about what most people in the younger generations desire, and where they feel unsatisfied. I think more than anything we have become skeptical of the traditions of our parents because we have seen how they have failed them. We think of faith as something hollow and church as a club that people belong to so they can feel better about themselves. We think of religious people as judgmental and uncaring. We want love and relationship, and because we have not seen it in religion, we have looked for it in friends and lovers and have become just as disillusioned...

I think I have always been the kind of person who has been interested in facts, however divorced they are from feeling. Naturally, when I came to Christianity, I did so because of evidence, and much of my Christian life has been spent studying doctrines and learning facts about who God is and what the Bible says. This kind of study is very helpful when it comes to finding out about God, but I have often failed in applying what I have learned to the God who is personally, whom I know and love and who loves me. I have struggled to know God in relationship in the way that He desires me to, and in a way that gives my life real fulfillment.

But whenever I do stop to talk to my God and my Friend, I do find peace. I find a relationship with a Father who really does love me unconditionally and never disappoints me (unlike our earthly fathers). I find a God who IS love and who is so patient with my short-comings, though He always pushes me to do better, with His help. When I open up to Him and put Him in the center of my life where He belongs, He gives me the kind of relationship that everyone in my generation is craving but hasn't found. Yes, religion has failed us. But the true God who created us and gives the world meaning has not failed us. And even though we have so many times failed Him in our lives, He is ready to offer us forgiveness and restoration, and has done so in His Messiah, Jesus. He has restored us to a right place by taking the burden of sin onto Himself, and as a consequence we can now know Him and enjoy Him forever. This is the good news of the Gospel message, and in a love-starved generation that has become frustrated with tradition and "going through the motions" of religion, it is the best news anyone could offer.

Questions for the skeptic:
Do you think my discussion of an emotional relationship with God shows that my belief in God is for psychological reasons alone? If so, how do you explain the fact that I struggle with not trusting in God in a relational sense, but depend mostly on my intellectual assent to what I see as the truth of God?

Does life have meaning? If so, is it true meaning or do we make it up ourselves? If life does have meaning in the real sense, what is that meaning? Does our idolizing cars, money, sex, or people set us up for disaster? Since we tend to lift people or things up as gods, doesn't this show our inherent need for transcendental meaning and God? If we have a real thirst for God and meaning, does this suggest that meaning and God truly exist? If not, what does this desire point to?

Does the fact that so many Christians have turned worship into a social club and faith into a list of do's and dont's suggest that Christianity is also empty, or could it be that Christianity is full of beauty and truth but we have sold it short by institutionalizing it (for a practical example of this in politics, think of how revolutionaries with high ideals succeed in establishing their government just to see their leaders sell the movement's ideals short)?

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