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Monday, May 20, 2013


I recently received a fund raising letter from a ministry with which I am somewhat familiar.

I am perplexed, almost astonished, and baffled by a paragraph contained in the letter.

I am not putting it in "context" as I don't want to identify the ministry or make them think I'm attacking them...

Here is the puzzling paragraph:

"I told...of how we get to serve thousands of young people and minister to them. We try to do this with a generous posture that creates space for their humanity. Too many camps and churches try to force young people into a confining, human-created mold when what is really needed is an environment that allows young people to lean into their own God shaped humanity."

I am ignorant as to whether this ministry farms out its fundraising, or if this was penned by someone on their staff.

But would..could..someone explain it?

I'm reasonably certain I would fall under their category of "too many camps and churches (and speakers) try to force young people into a confining, human-created mold.." though I would argue the "human-created" part if they refer to things like holiness,sexuality,etc. 

I don't try to "force" anyone to do anything; though I try desperately to preach/teach the whole counsel of include the "inconvenient" parts like sacrifice, service, and Biblical standards (as opposed to legalism). But, then, to some extent legalism is in the eye of the beholder...

Again, I have absolutely no clue what the writer of the paragraph means, or is trying to describe. But at face value, I don't want to have include me...lean into my humanity...I need to lean into Jesus..not a Jesus of my choosing, but the only Lord and Savior Christ Jesus...and that only happens through repentance and faith.

NOTE: Some of you who read this may have received the same letter, or are pretty sure from where it came....may I ask you not to identify or guess?


Pastor Kirk said...

If I want to give these folks the benefit of the doubt, I might think they are referencing something of what Rick Warren talks about in the Purpose Driven Life. He notes that God can use our unique SHAPE (S = spiritual gifts; H = heart; A = abilities; P = personality; and E = experience)to serve in ministry. Helping young people explore their God given shape is helpful, because they may not be destined to be who mom, dad, or their youth minister have told them they are meant to be.

On the other hand, if I want to be extremely suspicious, I might expect the counselors at this camp to pass out some dope, turn on some Jimi Hendrix, and teach a lesson from the Timothy Leary Youth Group Leader's Handbook.

Drew said...

It seems to me that humanity might not have been the best choice of words. I found the blog post (from the CEO) it was from that described the whole story and it seems that "individuality" might have been a more fitting word. That they are helping people learn and lean into God shaping their individuality rather than defining a cookie cutter of style, preference, and personality. Just my thought, the opposite could also be true

Jack Hager said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comments...still wondering what's wrong with Hendrix (revealing that I am a stereotypical child of the sixties)...and I applaud both of you gentlement talking "cookie cutter" stuff...that would be legalistic pharaseeism...our "pattern," though remains Jesus...not the parts of Jesus that we like, but the whole sanctified enchilada...not "just" the Jesus of compassion, but the Jesus of anger...not "just" the Jesus of the Jesus People, but the Jesus who overturned tables...

Jack Hager said...

ADDENDUM: After being directed to the blog of the author, I find this line in the blog that is not quoted in the letter (which causes another 'huh'?): "(she) definitely embraced Jesus Christ and allowed her spirit to be set free by God's life-giving spirit."