Even though I give the speech a high rating (which I am sure Barack is waiting to hear), and even though I can whip up some admiration for the president’s audacity, competitiveness and attention to some of my greatest irritations, the speech made me glad, as usual, that Jesus introduced me to an alternative way of life and glad that Circle of Hope keeps giving me a chance to practice it.
Taylor Swift was in town this past weekend. Thus caps off my ten-day meditation on Bad Blood. Now, of course, I love Taylor Swift like everyone else. But that does not mean I don’t want to speak some truth as part of my love.
I wrote in my Facebook page: “I think I am spending a week with this Taylor Swift vid — Mad Max meets Project Runway meets 50 Shades? What do YOU think this mashup means?” Some people taught me some stuff.
On the face of things, Bad Blood is just a very thin “I’m really mad at you” break up song: “Did you have to do this? I was thinking that you could be trusted. Did you have to ruin what was shiny? Now it’s all rusted.” But it quickly moves to: “Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.”
It is OK to tell me I am over-reacting. But can I just point out how anti-Christ it is to deal with a broken relationship by renaming yourself “Catastrophe” and imagining getting together with your superhero friends for a fight to the death? Have we all become Lindsay Graham? Is this mentality running Jesus over?
As I was praying this morning, I realized I might be overly preoccupied with two groups of people I seem to love more than others — even though God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34).
I am very concerned with the burned-out evangelicals I meets who are super sensitive to being marched around by narcissistic leaders.
I am also concerned about the slavish millennials who are like hunter-gatherers living in small tribes feeding off the cast-offs of society, with little hope of the future.
Of all the people who were worshiping with me last night: successful professionals, immigrants, hard-working teachers, dutiful parents, etc., I tend to hone in on these two subgroups. I think that is because they need to be saved and are oh so close to getting there but often have the deck stacked against them.
I’m not a burned-out evangelical because I never really was one. I had plenty of opportunities to travel with them (I was even trained by Campus Crusade before they coolified their name to Cru), but when I was making a decision about who were my people, I found the Anabaptists. I liked the Brethren in Christ because they added on “Pietist” and “Wesleyan,” to their Anabaptist roots, and basically refused to be too strongly affiliated with some past description because old labels don’t make that much sense in the present. But even though I don’t live in the mainstream, I still meet many skittish people who grew up in a mega church or a conservative, little, strangulation-by-Bible church. They don’t always have a live relationship with Jesus, but they do know a lot of Christian stuff. It is often like they are inoculated against any real relationship with Jesus because they were trained to be suspicious of every wrong way one might have one!
They need to be saved rather than just be deserters of the bogus faith of their past, or mere critics of what others say.
I’m not a millennial, either (according to Pew, I am a GenXer). But nobody really knows what a millennial is, anyway, which is probably what makes someone a millennial. They appear to be less “white;” they can’t remember a time without the internet; they can work devices and act technologically savvy. They don’t care as much about success, and that is good, since they will probably be less well-off than their parents. Under their parents’ watch, their future wealth was stored up in the 1%, the government became more like a corporation and started selling off public assets to businesses, and people became so fearful of terrorists and of losing their jobs that they stopped trying to change things. The younger one is, the more likely she is to feel like it is “all up to her” and maybe she will be helped by a few close friends. For many of these people, the church is just another huge institution they sometimes hover around looking for scraps of meaning to put in their personal identity backpack.
They need to be saved rather than left isolated and suspicious, being injured by the huge forces that use them like raw material, like slaves sent to make bricks without straw when they speak up.
My life is filled with students, children, parents, and Christian leaders — all sorts of people. I love them all. But these two groups seem to make my heart break and my conviction stir. I think they represent what is hardening the hearts of the next generation. One of the things I want to do most with my days is work with God as he softens us up for love and truth. Most days I am not sure what I am trying to do makes a bit of difference. Most days I am content to let God make of it what he will, since he is part of every generation and his mercy is new every morning.