Crisis of faith? Surely not.
Big youth event tomorrow night. Bring 'em in with lots of fun stuff, food, and the opportunity to win big expensive prizes - and while you have 'em, throw some Jesus at 'em. See what sticks. I know - it's the seedy underbelly of youth ministry. The bait and switch.
Somehow I got elected to give "the talk".
So now it's the night before, and I'm not sure that I should do it.... can do it. What I mean is, I don't think I can be spiritually and intellectually honest with myself and with God - and say the things that people usually say in these kind of talks.
I'm not really interested in convincing people to attend a church.
I'm not really interested in getting people to subscribe to a particular religion.
I'm not really interested in getting people to give their intellectual assent to a set of beliefs, or a well-formed spiritual argument.
I don't think I want to call people to make a decision to ask Jesus "into their heart" to become their "personal lord and savior".
Something in me knows that the point of life is bigger than that - that God is too big for that box. That God is bigger than morality, bigger than church, bigger than Christianity, and certainly bigger than the other religions. Something in me understands that, fundamentally, God is reality. God is the over-arching fabric and construction of the universe. God is truth. God is love. God is one. God is the way things should be, were, and will be again. God is not a Christian - God is God. Christians do not own God. We don't even share Him with the other religions. So how can we presume to give him away?
I'm rambling on here, but I kind of feel like giving people an "invitation to receive Christ" would be a shallow, mediocre verson of what I should be doing. Kind of like a sales pitch, and my job, or my reputation, or our youth ministry depends on how many people I can close the deal with tomorrow night. So the pitch itself has to be great (which pretty much goes against everything I believe about the way people are "saved", and God's role in the process)
But how do you invite people into a relationship with the way things should be? Into a relationship with reality? How do you invite people into a relationship with the most unimaginably huge thing in all of existence, by getting them involved with a little bitty thing like church. How can I boil God down to a little formula, and a 15 minute talk, when it's taken thousands of years, and volume upon volume to get us to what we know about him today - which is still very little.
I guess I could try and hand this thing off to somebody who gives these church talks all the time - but my conscience would still hurt me because I bet they would probably say all the things I believe it would be dishonest of me to say.
I guess what it boils down to is this:
I know what I should say - and would love to say - and what I believe God is longing for people to hear.
And I know what a good youth minister at a local church is supposed to say.
And they seem so far apart.
And that saddens me very much, because I think that God is too big for my box.
Can anybody hear me?
Does anybody have a clue what the heck I'm talking about?
Bueller . . . . . Bueller . . . . .