Sunday, November 11, 2007

Action, Question, Concern

Today in the high school Sunday school we had the students do an exercise. We laid out a long strip of white paper which had three sections—Action, Questions, and Concerns. The idea was to allow the students to voice their ideas, worries, doubts, etc. by writing it out with a marker. The Concern section was for them to put down what they were concerned about in the world. Most students wrote social justice issues, sex trafficking, child pornography, world hunger… one student even wrote “the Christian response to homosexuality.” Their answers were very deep and relatively specific on the Concern section. The Question section was to express their questions about what it means to be a Christian. Most of these questions had to do with understanding God. The Action section was for them to express ideas for how we could be “salt and light” as a church or youth group.

Whereas the students spent a great deal of time and energy writing their concerns and questions very few were even able to articulate an “action,” or an idea for doing something about the problems in the world. Whereas the concerns were specific and deep, the actions were extremely ambiguous and non-specific. Every student had a concern but none really had any clue of what they could do about it. Very few seemed to have any real sense that they could do anything about it.

This raises a few questions for me. How can a generation that care so much about the world have such little hope of doing anything about it? Why are students often unable to come up with any specific ideas? Is it the church’s fault they feel this way?

Perhaps the reason the students had such a hard time is because they were raised that way. Perhaps students have been told over and again that they have a global responsibility but have never been offered any opportunities. Perhaps the church they grew up in is so far from poverty that they can’t even understand how to get close to it again. The Church should not become so rich that it forgets its identity. The church should be in the business of creating opportunities not just convicting people that they need to act. If the Church ever abandons action for cheap talk, it will certainly lose its saltiness.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. ­_Matthew 5:13


Mark said...

Hi, Wes! That one student who wrote about the Christian response to homosexuality - he must be a pretty insightful young man... Oh. By the way; did you know I have a blog? Anyway - for the record - I thought you're point was very valid. And I did my best to avoid what you were talking about, but I do feel a sense of hopelessness in some of these causes...

WES ELLIS said...

Mark, Yeah... if I remember correctly, the student who wrote about homosexuality was... you.
it's difficult to avoid a sense of hopelessness, but if there are people who should be naive enough and reckless enough to believe that they can change the world, it should be the Church.