Thursday, October 04, 2007

    Ripping on "See You at the Pole"


    One thing I admire about youth ministry blogger Stuart is his honesty -- he calls them like he sees them. Case in point: his current declaration that the See You at the Pole event is, in his words, "really stupid." This yearly program asks students to meet at the flagpole outside their school and stand together holding hands and praying -- in a display of self-righteousness for all to see. Perhaps more bothersome: it centers itself around a flag, a symbol of nationalism, further commingling faith and country in a way that I believe dilutes our faith and is downright dangerous for the health of the Church.

    Some might argue that these youth are witnessing to their faith. But I would hope we are leading them to understand that we don't witness to our faith by making public spectacles of our piety. We do so in the way that we live and love others, in the way we work for peace and justice, in the ways that we care for creation, and in the ways we practice reconciliation. But don't take my word for it. Read what Stuart has to say.
    --Brian

    4 comments:

    Brian said...

    Just thought you should read this. It is SYATP's official definition of the event. It seems as if your definition of it is not their own. Additionally, I would submit that whatever misunderstandings you have of this event are drawn by assumptions of motives that you have no right to judge. If there are students who approach See you at the pole as a self-righteous display of piety (as you suggest), then it is their own manipulation of an event that is not intended to be such.

    Blessings.

    See You at the Pole™ is a student-initiated, student organized, and student-led event. That means this is all about students meeting at their school flagpole to pray—for their school, friends teachers, government, and their nation. See You at the Pole™ is not a demonstration, political rally, nor a stand for or against anything.

    Brian said...

    Thanks for sharing. I did in fact thoroughly read the SYATP website after reading the referenced blog in my posting and before writing my own comments. I agree that what they say the event is about does not jive with my description but I was speaking to what I have witnessed, not their hopeful description of what the event should be. I was also speaking from my experience with teenagers and the way they develop and think through their faith. As with many of their emotions, they tend to wear their faith on their sleeves, and are as changeable as the wind. This is the reality of the developing teenage brain. I do not judge it -- I simply think we need to be realistic about it.

    Tim said...

    Despite it's shortcomings, one single morning of prayer for students each year is still way better than no day of prayer. Sometimes I think people just try to find things to pick at.

    stuart delony said...

    "one single morning of prayer for students each year is still way better than no day of prayer"

    That's such a ridiculous statement of futility.

    And by picking at things, you mean rethinking traditions that have long lost their meaning? Then, sure I like to pick.