You are feared above all else (at least until the next generation has more purchasing power), and are more mysterious to the previous generations than the ocean floor. You have no time bullshit, and all the time for beauty. Apparently, that’s a problem. I know, I am frustrated, too. You were raised not only hearing from every authority that you could be anything and that kindness matters—you believed it! I did too, and maybe I still do some days.
We didn’t know that it was going to be hard to fit the values fed us by school wraparound programs and public television in to society at large. We had no way of knowing how much it costs to be kind, and how little our dream jobs would pay, or how hard it would be to find a job period in an economy like this. No one knew, and people are generally bad at admitting when that’s true. It makes us feel weird and vulnerable to acknowledge life is unpredictable and surprises us in the most terrible ways sometimes.
I don’t have much to say about the business trends, the restaurants we’re “killing,” economics for the sake of economics doesn’t move the needle for me. I do have words about the church, though. That I care about. That I know and love.
If you’re like me, you probably received a story from the church about a shiny, white Jesus, who’s scars have long-since faded and who exists now only to smile down as you work for the American Dream, or smite you as you struggle. You probably picked up from your high school graduation card that God knows the plans He has for you, and they are plans to prosper and not to harm you! So the $70,000+ in debt you have from college is your own damn fault. Stop complaining.
This is the message I want you to hear, like so many before us: Peace be with you, God is here. God is with us. Yes, even in this place. I want you to hear that even amidst all the warnings about being faithless or falling away, that the writers of Scripture can’t help but point to Israel—the forerunners of this faith—and they are well known for wandering in the desert for forty years.
I feel like that sometimes, do you? Wandering in the wilderness.
“Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, as on the day of testing in the wilderness,” writes one author in the Bible, but then goes on to say that we don’t serve some stoic and removed high priest, unable to understand or sympathize. Jesus’ scars have not yet faded. His side is still pierced.
As you wander and seek, and they call you a “none” for not buying in to a faithless Church who carries a xenophobic, misogynistic, white supremacist on their shoulders to the White House, you are also held by the Wounded Healer. You are found, like water rushing from rocks in the desert.
God has a long history of meeting people in the desolate places. It’s kind of God’s signature move.
I am not afraid that we are “falling away.” Honestly, there are many things we were handed that desperately need to fall away. Listen closely, dear friend. Don’t be afraid of silence, or of scars. Look your doubts dead in the face and like Jacob, refuse to let them go. We will walk with limps after this time in the wilderness. But that’s the way God works, too.
Take heart, dear one. Keep going. You are found by the One who understands more than you could ask or imagine, even in this place.