Christians in Culture, Continued
Kid1 gave me a detailed run-down of her day at school yesterday. She attends an “arts magnet” high school in Dallas, which draws all sorts of kids from the DFW area…and combine that with the type of kids who would want to attend an arts-focused high school. Throw in a mix of teachers that would want to teach and an arts-focused high school and you have a Heinz 57 of belief systems (a.k.a. “worldviews”–or ways of looking at the world). They’re all over the map…which I guess is going to be found in any high school–but at their school even folks who profess to be Christians are in an obvious minority. Again, that could be true at any public high school (which might be a topic for another day), but my impression from her is that it’s a lot different than when she attended the local high school.
Anyway, I’m not free to give you details of the issue, but suffice to say it’s pretty typical high school stuff. That much I know, as it’s universal to high school experiences by everybody everywhere. But Kid1 was in a situation where her advice was asked for and she let me in on the details of what she said. While she did her best to avoid using terms Christian vocabulary, the gist of the advice was from her framework.
How can you show the most love for the other person?
How can you serve the other person?
How can you show integrity?
Stuff like that. Kid1’s advice was taken under advisement and duly noted…I’m sure to be thrown in the hopper with the other advice thrown around the lunch table. Adults are no different, really. We just do the same thing over the phone or in small groups huddled at coffee shops or whatever. High school is hard. So is adulthood.
But, what got me was Kid1’s observation that the others around the table didn’t think the same way she thought. Not have the same ideas as her…that’s not what she meant at all. But rather that they seemed to be using entirely different criteria to make decisions.
Kid1 noted that she was focused on love and service. Others at the table gave advice that was was best for themselves. Or their feelings. Or their past experiences. Or stuff they’d learned from their parents. Or some book they’d read. Not all of it was bad advice, either, Kid1 noted. It was just coming from a different place. And her insights were given consideration, it’s just that the reaction was more of a “that’s really different and I’m not sure that’d work and I’ll have to think about that some more” vibe.
Kid1 mentioned that she could bring up stuff in her Bible study group and they’d all be generally coming from the same worldview and they’d understand her. “I’m really glad I have my Bible study group last night, Dad…and I’m glad that I can hang out with some of them tonight. Sometimes, after being surrounded by that stuff all day, I just enjoy being around friends that at least understand where I’m coming from.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to glorify Kid1 as some spiritual giant. For all I really know, she’s pumping sunshine to Dad so she can get out of the house using the terms and type of conversation that she knows her PastorDad would eat up and keep him off her bak. That’d be a bit out of character for her to this point. But hey…teenagers, man. ‘Nuff said.
My point was that she was engaged with culture. Her culture. Loving her friends with no other agenda. Not to “evangelize” or “lead them to Christ.” Just being in the mix of folks who don’t know Christ and being who she is. But not backing off what she believes to be true, either.
And she was also engaged with her sisters in Christ and her small group leaders (who she bragged on). They were a place where she felt “gotten.” Understood. Supported. Reminded that she isn’t crazy. Reminded that she has a family with a bunch of other aliens and strangers.
So I thought of our discussion and was reminded of a quote from Bill Hybels who was addressing a bunch of youth leaders before he became Christian Spokesperson Bill Hybels (which isn’t all bad…it’s just that this was 20 years ago): “If we spend all our time with Christians only, we’ll yawn at movements of God we ought to be awed by.”
And I thought that the converse is true as well…if we spend all our time with those not of our faith, we’ll forget our uniqueness and place.
And there’s a balance there…
…and I was kinda hoping for more discussion in the comments on this stuff.
As you can tell, I’m really intrigued by it at the moment.
Pour a cup of coffee and stay a while today, okay?