Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is This the Best We Have to Offer?

The New York Times carried a thought-provoking article on Sunday: Thou Shall Not Kill Except in a Popular Video Game at Church. The article documents a growing trend in church ministry: "baiting" young people with Microsoft's violent Halo 3 (Rated M).

Mr. Barbour, the youth pastor of Colorado Community Church, says that God calls ministers to be “fishers of men.”

“Teens are our ‘fish,” the Times quotes Mr. Barbour saying, “So we’ve become creative in baiting our hooks.”

It seems as though the Church faces a crisis when we, the people of the Kingdom, no longer find the vibrancy of a life lived in faith worth sharing for its own merit. When the woman at the well of Samaria went to evangelize to her friends, she was so enamored by the person of Christ, that the only testament she needed to offer was, "Come, meet the man who told me everything that I have ever done." Christ, alone, was incredible enough.

Certainly I am so grateful for the adults in my life who crafted, with true creativity and care, an environment of wholesome enjoyment of the gifts of life and fellowship when I was young. In these environments, the purity and the excitement of the Christian life was witnessed, and I am grateful for those times and the unforgettable memories and the all-encompassing messages of faith.

However, from my humble experience as a high school teacher, I think that youth are skeptical of adults who cater to them on the basis of their own morally questionable activities. If experience is any guide, youth want the adults in their life to be mature and to impact them in such a way that they are challenged to make good decisions.

The Times reported one man saying, “If you want to connect with young teenage boys and drag them into church, free alcohol and pornographic movies would do it."

Is this the best we have to offer? Has the journey of our own discipleship left us no story more exciting than Halo 3? Did we forget that we possess access to the Almighty God of the universe? Does our own relationship with God leave us with no moral compass, such that the social mores and entertainment of the culture have become our own without question?

Solomon instructs the young, "Remember the Creator in the days of your youth, fear God, keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." Isn't this message far more important than trying to convince the culture that Christians can have fun too, even if it means pushing the limits of the sixth commandment?