By Peter Mbugua
Peter serves with Trinity Fellowship based in Nairobi, Kenya.
But there were some discomforting elements regarding the highway to hurray-land. Every now and then, news would come that someone had crashed to death in a speed drive. He was drunk.
The worst of all reports was that very few people on this highway knew exactly where they were going. They just seemed to be driving aimlessly. Empty people filled with care, headed who-knows-where. On they went with cries of pain, living filled with fear. Laughter hid their silent cry…
When you and I were born, we started driving. Very soon in life, we learned that there is good and evil around here. Most parents are scared for their children. My mother was. Still is! Maybe, yours, too. They are frightened that their little ones will be found by the evils of life.
In a bid to help their children stay away from evil and live a happy, safe life, they lay rules in the house. They spell out expectations. If they are old-school in orientation, they may spank a while, or even harshly treat us out of fear that if youngsters are left alone, they will waste their life.
And school teachers join in the fray. Perhaps these parents and teachers know all too well the stages in life where they themselves started wasting their own lives. If the parents are religious folk, they will insist that their sons and daughters go to church, invariably the one the parents attend.
The end results? Human souls that were created to naturally grow into a healthy degree of sovereignty under God — the true freedom that makes us want to choose of our own volition what is truly right — now feel controlled, manipulated, caged, hampered, and, at best, over-protected by dishonest bearers of double-standards.
Up to this point, the child is driven subconsciously by his guardians through the mazes of life. Before long, he comes to that inevitable junction, where he consciously has to choose the direction he wants to drive his own life.
He has left High School (spelt teen penitentiary), and also home (spelt maximum security prison). So he goes to college. That dreaded creation of monster-minds begins a horrific process of deconstruction by which the poor soul, now in its early twenties, is methodically unfixed, preferably beginning at its religious devotion.
“My duty here”, boasted one Philosophy lecturer in my first-year class, “is to make sure that you leave behind that illogical non-sense (meaning the Christian faith) and begin to think.”
With such buttressing and bashing and intimidation, the soul, now not so poor anymore, begins to see the freedom, the unlimited joy of driving through a wilderness without laws, without religious moralization, without spiritual policemen, without fussy do’s and don’ts, without chocking, divinely engineered ethics, and without limits to pleasure and merry-making. And the turn to highway to hurray-land is taken.
Should it surprise us when the Barna Group reports that in America, for instance, less than 30% of youngsters who process faith in Christ in their teenage will have abandoned the faith by the time they enter the 29th year?
There is even a more difficult question. Is it right to assume that these youngsters were truly biblical Christians in the first place? Did they understand the faith? Or were they socialized into some kind of religious psychotherapy to keep them from trouble? Here is the verdict of the research group in their own words:
“…the current state of ministry to twentysomethings is woefully inadequate to address the spiritual needs of millions of young adults. These individuals are making significant life choices and determining the patterns and preferences of their spiritual reality while churches wait, generally in vain, for them to return after college or when the kids come. When and if young adults do return to churches, it is difficult to convince them that a passionate pursuit of Christ is anything more than a nice add-on to their cluttered lifestyle.” — David Kinnaman, director of a research on youth and spirituality, The Barna Group (of Ventura, California): www.barna.org
So what is wrong with the “current state of ministry to twentysomethings”? I would say it is the same thing that is wrong with the current state of ministry to ‘somethingteens’. In my observed opinion, it is this: Many parents are not teaching their children a biblical view of life and reality.
Likewise, many pastors are not giving a coherent spiritual diet to the youth in church. Most of it is counselling.
So children at home and church are fed on lukewarm, compromised, religious psycho-socio therapy to keep them out of trouble until they are mature enough to make responsible decisions.
But the lecturer will be waiting then, and the devil, to start deconstruction through a post-modern form of education that scorns at the idea of a God creating the world and preserving the story in some mythical form in Jewish folklore containing unreliable records of a pre-historic make-believe world, a concoction fit only for Sunday school children. Which somethingteen-turned-twentysomething will not want to grow up, leave the nonsense and start thinking and making merry in the process?