The world is rich with calendars. They dangle from racks in every bookstore, card shop, and supermarket. They lie on office desks, hang on kitchen walls, and ding at us from our phones. These calendars divvy up our time into months and days, helping us organize our lives around the tasks we need to accomplish.
I’ve heard it a thousand times. I’ve said it myself. “The youth are the future of the church.” This notion makes a case for youth ministry rooted in institutional survival. If we don’t raise up young people to be faithful, then the church won’t exist – tomorrow. While I understand the thought process that makes us say this, I have come to the conclusion that it is a fallacy.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
On Monday morning a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey. There have been numerous aftershocks since that time. At this time, the death toll is over 19,000 people with many, many more injured. Countless homes have been leveled. It is estimated that over 300,000 people are displaced because of this natural disaster.
As I watched the horrifying video of police officers beating a man to death, I realized that I was seeing evil in a new way. This was certainly, sad to say, not a unique eruption of violence perpetrated by those who swore to protect and serve. We’ve seen similar scenes unfold all too often. Most of those past incidents were framed in the context of America’s long struggle with racism. In this case, the victim was once again black. So were the perpetrators. I realized as I watched that it is not just racism fueling the violence in our culture, it is something deeper, broader, and more insidious. Cynicism, of a most cancerous sort, is part of the fabric of our culture. Cynicism is the birthplace of racism, sexism, and all the ways we diminish others.