Round Table with Oscar
November 19, 2013

Young people in motion and Jesus

We can almost define youth as the age of ferment, or young people as “motions”, moving beings. They are the community where words fly, lyrics multiply, sport records are set and broken, fists flail, bullets pelt, passions privatized, drugs boom, feelings soar, love vibrates, parents are born, “books” are beaten, learning grows, industry spurts, bodies bloom, voices sing praise, anatomies bounce, hormones rumble, visions tumble, dress is decoded, jobs disappear, organisations ferment, sex moves free, mammon is worshipped, chastity licensed, temples ravished, bling hunted, creativity grounded, “follow fashion” flourishes, God is announced, justice by passed, empires craved….motion unlimited.{{more}}

All of these constant vibration somehow reminds me of the report that while things were or appeared unregulated and purposeless, the spirit of God was in motion over the whole seeming mess and God declared “Let light shine” (from the book Genesis, Chapter 1, vv 2 -3)

As I examine the things that make young people move, I tell myself – it’s really things of the spirit. For example, when young women thrust their breasts up and out there for attention, putting the temple’s first contingent on parade, I resist the notion of their indecency. At times, I do pay a brief disciplined attention, at times I feel assaulted, but I see us caught up in a cult that unmasks our hypocrisy about the human body, but does so in a way and for a purpose that can only be seen as perverse and evil and indecent.
The cult leaders are strategic business giants who know that we are vulnerable, in our spirits; we have a space there that we must fill with meaningful relationship. Their message goes something like this: you can be somebody to note, when we dress you to put your body on show book at Miley or Madonna or top model. And so their sales increase as billions of women buy spiritual satisfaction in a piece of cloth, and men pay attention. The cult grows; cult leaders message their profits and the human spirit reforms or cheapens.

The bling, the bullets, the competition for medals and learning and things monetary have a lot to do with a need for spiritual satisfaction in our personal and social walk through life, and youth has become the maturing spot for this search. It seems that we are seeing and we are agreeing with the agenda

that others are setting for our youth, rather than reviewing the way strategically “train up the child in the way she or he should go…”

The Jesus option

Is there some light that can guide us and our youth, if we consider and discipline ourselves in the movements of the son of man from Galilee, Jesus?

Jesus, the anointed, was a man in motion, quite often he was in counter motion to the trends around him. The only youth story about him in our gospels shows him spending time studying (interactively) with the scholars in the temple classrooms while his parents were frantically searching for him. At age twelve, he told them “I have to learn what the father wants from me.” (Luke 2. 41-49) No cult leader was going to lead this youth away, although he was offered, in his management retreat on temptations, the option of being a cult leader himself – or as Satan put it. Be my Deputy.

I am sure that many youth face the exact pathways to fulfillment which Jesus encountered in his temptation. They were: don’t make bread or material needs a problem, bread is the solution the world (and you) need. Grab it, then there was the “superstar” option, Dazzle people, manipulate them, and bring them to your feet. That is an attractive option to many young people, isn’t it? There was also the challenge to imperial power. Be the next great leader of the world, like your ancestor David. Bring salvation by a Kingdom over the whole world. A political solution.

The dividing line for Jesus was what he said when he was a 12-year-old boy. My business is not to build a personal or private career, but to be one for others. It is bigger than me. At age thirty, he knew bread was not the answer not glamour. What light does that shed on the motions that occupy our youth, in the community or cloistered in our churches?

When Jesus was executed in the bone yard called Golgotha, the religious semi political leaders, the Roman soldiers and one of the men crucified with him mocked him. “Is king you want to be eh, is God’s anointed you are nuh” and such remarks. Luke’s gospel says that the people looked on without comment. Where does Jesus stand in relation to our youth and vice versa? Many youth are looking on without comment. Jesus offers, even commands an independent vision of who we are and how to become filled with meaning. Not raiment or clothes, not meat or bellyful. These come after we define ourselves in faith as children of a non imperial kingdom, where we hunger and thirst for justice, where we are able to love not just those in our circle who love us, where we can see not only the hurt and the crunch that face us daily.

The community of “motions”, has the option to become a community of light, for bringing to birth new opportunity for development, and for pulling down strong holds that cause the human spirit to shrivel our human life to become cheap. Youth with Jesus will also transform the Christian church into a movement of God spirit reshaping creation in God’s image.