Tonight at youth group Mark put on a CD of a group he enjoyed (and after listening to it, I agree – great choice!) and I remarked, “I miss the free stuff.” It wasn’t a bitey comment, if that’s how you read it. But one of the great perks of youth ministry is that anyone trying to market to teenagers – those supposedly on the cusp of trends – who are Christians will send you anything to try to get you to like/promote/mention/sell the product to your captive audience each Sun/Wednesday. I really enjoyed the YLO package delivery day with all kinds of new music.
Similarly I was reflecting this morning that I don’t currently have the newest undercurrent of the Jesus-following movement pushing its way into my thought patterns. No, I didn’t say that I lost my Jesus. Allow me to explain.
My great spiritual awakening came while I was at college and I was introduced to the world of Modern Evangelical Conservatism. Praise songs with a guitar? Rad. Sharing Jesus on the beach? Sure. Tossing out the spaghetti strap tank tops and reading about not dating? Guilty. The teachings of this movement built my faith and provided a firm foundation, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate each of the teachings and the purpose behind them.
Soon after leaving my college scene and embarking in the world of youth directing, I became enticed by the language of Postmodern Emergent Hipsterism. These folks whet the appetite by wanting to throw out rules and reason. Experience was the name of the game. It was wonderful to put something behind all my head-knowledge and validate the heart. The passion for the social conscience also put a little life in my blood. All the individualism that the MEC stood for was sweet at first but then, like too much candy, gave a bellyache. There needed to be room in my faith for a place to give, or at least a desire to and a belief that I should. But the fire fizzled out – or I read all the books – and though I appreciate these voices as well, I’m just not impressed by the new version of an old song. Well, that, and I’m not cool enough. I don’t know anything about new music nor will I pretend to. If David Crowder goes out of style, then they’ll really take back the hipster cool card.
But now? Well, if I were to sing a prom song to Jesus it would be: “It’s just youuuu and meeeee and all of these people…” There’s no particular grouping or affinity that I fall into anymore. I’m not saying that these camps were the basis of my faith – far from it. In the ocean that is faith, the voices active from these perspectives definately put some wind in my sails. The boat was moving a bit quicker. At present, I feel more like I’m on a leisurely float, just watching the fish and enjoying the weather.
I’m finding this both refreshing and frustrating. I’m used to moving at a quicker pace, having a goal in mind. Most of the time I don’t like aimless boat rides. So the leisure can be a bit frustrating. I feel… lackadaisical. Slothful. But on the other hand, it’s good for this girl to slow down a bit and enjoy. Trust the Guy I’m following and simply walk. Understand the beauty of each day. It’s refreshing to balance the impending, immediate nature of God with the eternal and continuous being that He is.
So. It’s good. Mostly. Now for all of you older-than-35 people who are secretly saying to yourself “oh, good – M finally grew up! It’s about time she reached this more mature level…” well… not so fast. I’m not sure it’s as much about growing up as it is about winding down. Breathing.
I can hear friends saying it now… hills and valleys. Ups and downs. Deserts and gardens. God takes us to all places to experience (or know, depending on which movement you’re attuned to) different perspectives of his love. And that’s good news.