Do you already have life, faith, God and the world figured out or do you hope to learn more in years to come?
Ever wondered if you might have some of this faith stuff wrong? That what you believe today you may not believe in the future? I recently came across a post by a young youth minister who certainly has a great deal of certitude about what he believes. I wondered if I ever had that much certitude, especially when it came to faith.
I started working in youth ministry in my early twenties and even though I was already a "progressive" Christian way back then (though we called ourselves "liberal" in those days), I suppose that there were many issues of faith of which I was certain that I was certain. Ministering to youth afforded me the opportunity to pass on those great inviolate truths to the teens I served. Looking back, I'm not so sure that was such a good idea. If I've learned anything over the last two decades, it's that I still have a heck of a lot to learn and the things of which I'm absolutely certain, especially in the area of faith, would barely fill up a tiny communion cup. This I know: God is love, God loves all, and the Jesus of scripture lived out this ethic the best he could (and was killed for trying). Beyond that, I'm open to discussion...with conservatives, liberals, non-believers, and others alike.
So, I'm not so comfortable anymore with passing on "the answers" to teens. I'm much more wary about giving them certitude. I've changed my mind too often and learned enough to know that I've learned so little. My eyes have been opened to too many things to think I know it all now. The scriptures have opened up thoughts to me in my middle age that I would never have been open to hearing in my youth. The Spirit has moved in ways I could never have predicted and God has shown up in places and people I would have never have expected. So I'm content to help youth live with the questions, to wrestle with their doubts and learn to value the frustration of trusting, but not necessarily knowing, what this Christian faith is really all about.