Thursday, November 10, 2005

+ + Quotes for the mill + +

"The comparison of adolescence to slavery has more relevance than revealed at first glance. While many in mainline Christianity have become aware, however incompletely, of the dangers of racism, few have become sensitized tot he dangers of viewing the institution of adolescence as natural to the life cycle. Our churches and youth risk naturalizing the situation and institution of adolescence - a thoroughly social and somewhat oppressive construct."
-David F. White
-I'm not sure if I agree. hmmm!
"The greatest mistake that youth pastors have made is to try to understand all of their students' past experiences. The past does influence us but that is not where the problems lies. Kids are messed up because they have no clear vision of what they want to become in the future. Our job is not so much to analyze the past but to provide options for students to make a dynamic assessment (decision). Human beings can make choices – the past can limit your options. Martin Luther King presented himself for arrest because he knew the options – keep the law or go to jail. There is always an option. Always a choice. The great counseling always comes when we ask a student – “what are your dreams?” What does the future hold for you? The people perish otherwise. The church doesn’t do this much at all. The movies do it all the time. Christianity is built on a vision of the future. One of the things we have not done for young people is sufficiently define for them the Kingdom of God."
the question: is there a future for kids (adulthood) or just more of the same?


Paul Johnston said...

Dale, I'm gonna "spout" man, excuse the damage. If it's sweet, I'm the man! If it sucks, Gil sent me, I am faultless, blame him....(the quintessential adolescent arguement... sorry,I digress...)

It's all about responsibility really.

If I really am a "stand up guy"
(read adult),I say that irrespective of others contributions, I assume responsibility for the outcomes, good or bad, my actions helped affect. If I only claim affinity to the good and blame others for the bad, I am still a child.

Christian men work towards righteousness and communal well being; boys work towards self interest.

As for church, who was the fool who determined it was wise to isolate kids, infer that adults were to blame for all the dumb stuff and then despair when the the youth group graduates were unable to assimilate into the adult communities they had spent the last several years denigrating.

Kids need there own time, to be sure. So do grown ups but if the two groups are never given an opportunity within our church cultures to honestly interact, don't be surprised when they view each other, with at best, guarded mistrust.

As for secular culture's supposed respect for youth, frankly like most everything else they have to say, it's mostly bullshit. It's all about the money.

Nobody will pay more money for less service or product, than a kid will. Call him cool, tell him his "all that" and he'll spend everything he's got on the "emperor's new clothes." Shit is shoepolish, without much effort or investment, when your marketplace is infested with adolescents.

Keep it young cause it keeps you beautiful is the crap they tell you. Keep them young cause it keeps them stupid is what they really mean.

Growing up has always truthfully meant, growing into God. That truth, like most every other truth, don't count for shit in our culture unless there is money to be made.

If you think I'm lying, blame Gil, he sent me.

Paul" what's crackalackin" Johnston.

Incoming... said...

thanks johnston:
so for you taking responsibility for you actions is the defining factor - i got not argument with that. But then i gotta ask is the some TIME when we should expect a kid TO BE ABLE to take this type responsibility?
Yeah I think you are expressing a very disturbing reality about how adolescence is more and more and issolated and issolating reality - maybe thats what the guy meant by slavery???
It should bother us that as we supposedly help younger people to mature they refuse to identify with the form of maturity that we offer to them.
As for using Gil as a crutch to walk into this blog - hmmmm
you are welcome and if it takes Gil to get you here great but there really is no need to hobble around here.

Paul Johnston said...

Hey Dale

Thanks for the welcome. Meant to use the Gil reference ironicly and not as a crutch. Then again irony as sarcasm deserves to viewed with caution...

Seriously, I like Paul Morgun's notion that we try to identify "passage rights" that encourage young people to transition from youth to maturity.

We need to create a sense that adulthood and maturity are Godly.

We must honestly reflect, as adults, that we make our best efforts to serve God and each other, within our communities, as best as we can. We need to be living examples that we are not just another "me first group" with wrinkles and grey hair.

We must invite our young people into "our tents" as full partners. Then we must rightfully ask them to earn the priviledge of staying.

We need each other. We work best when we look to serve each others interests as well as our own.

Sometimes I think it is more helpful to view Jesus's, "loving thy neighbour" directive more pragmaticly than we do. While it always be the right moral action and consequently the truest expression of human love, it is also practically the smartest thing for us to do for ourselves.

Our righteous self love is "hardwired" in such a way that we can only see and love the best in ourselves when we are serving others, selflessly.

Everything we do that solely serves our self interest, will never quite satisfy. It will always leave us longing for something more.

Peace and grace to you,

The Johnston :)

Incoming... said...

"We need to create a sense that adulthood and maturity are Godly."

Johnston please don't misread me...
by what you said (as above) do you mean MORE Godly. I hope you can see the problem. Its hard to see that comment as anything else but as a comparison to adolescence. But with your comment that we must, "invite our young people into "our tents" as full partners." It suggests that there is some level on which adolescence can and do attain equality with adults functionally and possibly in other ways.
The problem with your first quote is that it is precisely statements like those that - when misinterpreted have ghetto-ized young people. then those comments about slavery make lots of sense.
Do you have any further thoughts?

Paul Johnston said...

Generally speaking I am of the opinion that the typical NA teen, far from being "ghettoized" and "enslaved" is dysfunctionally self absorbed and spoiled. Paradoxicly though, I would agree that most NA teens feel sorrier for themselves (by extension agreeing with the ghetto/slavery idioms) then they have a right too.

We have to keep our children busier with righteous responsibilities, than we do.

Perhaps cumpulsory social service, preferrably in a context outside their own social spheres, i.e. nurseries, nursing homes, shelters, etc. is a good place to start.