I haven't been blogging much lately, not because I don't have anything to say but because I have no time to really sit down and write. I want to take a moment to explain some of the interesting conversations that you might have had recently with a young adult or college students. I also want college students to understand something about themselves. so, here it goes... (this is from Wandering in the Wilderness and you can buy it here!)
Notions of AUTHORITY change in young adulthood. Older adults tend to find religious authority in an outside source (Bible, parents, teachers, ministers)... and so as children we learned that Jesus loved us--because the Bible told us so! Emerging adults (20-30 year olds) experience a shift so that religious authority is located inside themselves, in fact parents may want to argue that all authority is located within the self. This shift comes with recognizing that an individual must take responsibility for one's own knowing...even at the level of faith.
Take a conversation about sexual experience for example:
55 year old parent: How can you say that having casual sexual experiences isn’t wrong? The Bible is quite clear on the issue. There are several passages of scripture that make obvious that sex outside of the commitment of marriage is a sin. And, there’s a long history within the church condemning such actions.
25 year old child: Yes, but I just don’t think God would condemn two people for loving one another. They’re not hurting anyone! Why can’t we just the issue alone? It doesn’t make any sense to say that God is love and that we ought to love one another and then to turn around and say, “Oh, that’s only for married people.” I think it threatens us because if we were given the choice, we would all choose to have sex with several people before settling down with just one.
In this conversation, the parent is arguing from “outside” authority, while the child argues from “inside” authority. Young people operate in the: “If it works for me, then I’ll accept it. If not, then I’ll reject it,” line of thinking and this is the pragmatism they tend to speak about a lot --therefore, this is a real danger
Calling young people back to the Bible is extremely important, as is taking the Bible seriously and applying it well when speaking to young people. When a young person shifts to the mature position of authority being located in an "outside" source, then the Bible, God, and wise counsel can be heard once again. Like Jesus said..."Those who have ears to hear, let them hear..." Open our ears, Lord!
If you are an emerging adult - I want you to listen to your justifications and explanations and see if you are operating from an "inside" authority or "outside" authority. Understand that the God of the Bible claims to be more than relatively true to you, the God of the Bible claims to be truthfully relevant to all peoples. If I am the only source of authority, then there can be no transferable lessons...and that is where older adults have us, they believe that lessons learned can be handed down, mistakes can be avoided, right living can be sought, and these things are validated in "outside" sources of ethics and morality.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.