This morning I was supposed to wake at 7:15 for a specific errand, around “still in the 6 o’clock hour not even 7 and therefore God’s probably not awake yet”, I woke up to the music of the birds just after dawn also known as a text message that should have been silenced.
As it came into focus though it sobered me and sunk my heart. It was a friend asking for prayer for their brother, after what sounded like a rough, scary and probably shocking night and the empathy running through my veins was over powering.
I wanted to reach into the situation and calm the family and then shake the boy trying in every wrong way to prove what he was and wasn’t, the downfall of many a boy raised in a good family but hurt by the church they serve… I know, he’s just looking for validation, looking for a God that hurts less and is easier than the hypocritical church he’s had a close look at…
So before I shake him for all the pain I know he’s causing his family… Even though I know he needs to open his eyes before more damage is done to them or to himself, to the younger brother’s watching, to the sisters who cry themselves to sleep with multiple broken hearts and some nights question why he needs to be so bad and other nights why they have to be so good…to the parents who have tried their best and as an answer to their arguments and tears and pleas of unconditional love get their humanity thrown in their face, being told they’ve failed as parent’s, (though I’m pretty sure, now that I’m old enough to know and a little wiser than the boys trying to prove their manhood…that those parents just like mine are just humans, saved by grace trying their best to follow God and give their children the best they can, even though they don’t know what the best is supposed to be, cause nobody showed them. Cut the parents some slack kids. Some times their trying to lay down their life for you, don’t persecute them for the times they fall off the pedestal you put them on. You can’t justify your sin with their imperfection.)
But what if that’s the trouble? What if in one instance the parent’s weren’t the best parent’s they.could be… That’s still not usually all that the boy is gonna talk about to his girlfriend (who maybe his drug of choice) late at night. He may be blaming his parents but its eventually gonna come back to something else.
Before I shake him, or just say boys will be boys, they have to sow their wild oats or whatever the rubbish is…
Let’s say somebody’s brother was raised in the church, probably with parents who had a radical conversion or who were trying to walk a walk of obedience in a fallen mess of a world, remember they are still human, but either way they tried, and something went wrong, somebody ask me what went wrong…
One of 3 things went wrong, but usually a combination of the three, occasionally there may be an exception. But I’m pretty sure all these hurting, insecure boys are running off with a lot of the same pain.
Most of us, from my generation down to my youngest brothers, who were raised in the church got a pretty good dose of the first two things.
One, we watched the church that we believed in walk a walk of hypocrisy that spread thru everything from adultery to little compromises and addictions like alcohol, materialism, pornography, the media among other things that went from a few white lies here and there to a whole church full of broken marriages and disenfranchised youth…. Why all the destruction, compromise and disappointment? How does this happen in the church?
This brings us to the second reason, Because the mainstream church in America, and the progressive, newly improved, non traditional emerging church, is living under grace. So now as there is less and less difference between the church and the world. There’s less and less reason for children to respect the church much less their parents. Because whether you’re in a traditional, “unenlightened” church, or part of the “emerging church” you are making it okay for young people to go to church on Sunday and talk theology with their smart Christian friends then to live in the hell of their choosing. This double standard, this glorified, watered down, rampant double standard excusing and justifying living a carnal Christian life or walking half of a walk, is why these boys are confused and looking elsewhere, and why young people in general are leaving the church in droves.
There’s another reason… I won’t say boys will be boys, but I will say boys need to know how to become men. Because whether they know how or not, they will try to. They’ll try to prove who they are and who they aren’t especially if they’re part of the above group that doesn’t respect the church anymore or their parents who may have served the church instead of following God.
They may go to extremes or use violent methods to prove themselves or they may use women. They may hurt the girls that are just a stepping stone in their journey of self discovery.
Unfortunately I have been a part of this process from more than one angle. Girls can use boys too…
In the process of deciding who they are, Maybe this boy will have someone besides a sister, maybe he has a best friend who wants to be there for him challenge him, hold his arms up…
But self discovery is messy, it usually involves experimentation, because you’re still trying to prove you’re not like your father or the church… And rebellion whether little or great is a wider road… And its much more alluring, melodramatic and seductive than the sister, or the mother or the best friend or the family that was there to hold your arms up and is even now praying for you.
I guess maybe you don’t need to know the reasons brothers make their sisters cry. So I won’t go into any more detail. Maybe you don’t want me to explain why I’ve lost so many friends, casualties of the Christian rite, examples of a failed system not a failed faith…more of a lack of faith (James 2). But someone needs to talk about it because it isn’t stopping, if anything’s increasing. Where are the kids I grew up with? The promising young leaders on fire for God… No one is talking about them. People I love are falling by the wayside, if they survived this long now they are becoming casualties of a watered down walk, rich with causes but falling short on holiness… Now, I’m starting to ramble… I’ll let it rest for today. But let’s keep talking about it, cause its not just adolescent males. It’s an epidemic stretching out and wearing the faithful down to a few. And if the few aren’t talking and blogging and writing and doing something who will?
Now, I’m not trying to sound like I have all the answers because I don’t. But I have one… It’s Jesus and Him crucified, unhindered, undiluted, unchanging and uncompromised. The more people that have that the more answers we’ll find.