If I wrote a letter to the elders of my church, it might look something like this...
I grew up going to church. Nondenominational, Bible-believing, Jesus People, middle-class White people, VBS camp, church. By the age of nine, I was pretty sure I was an informed Republican ready to vote. As an adolescent, I watched my pastor get arrested for protesting outside an abortion clinic. I had no grid for difference as I went off to college. Fast forward almost ten years...
I now believe that many of the major issues I grew up hearing about in church are potentially more complex than anybody let on or even knew. Having said that, I am more convinced than ever that the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of redemption, is meant to impact the world that I live in. I just seriously doubt that the "grown ups" in my world have any idea how.
Because here's the thing. Twenty years ago, my church group was pretty sure that our society was going to hell in a hand basket because Clinton was in office. And then they were pretty sure that we were all going to be saved when Bush took office. And now I hear people talking about everything from deep travail and mourning, to forming a militia now that Obama has been reelected. And all I have to say it...
It's not working, guys.
Whatever this plan is to impact society, the hope that we would wake up and suddenly abortion would be illegal, all the gay people would be gone, and the Palestinians would suddenly have amnesia and declare peace--it didn't happen.
In fact, according to your estimation, everything is just getting worse. And I want to know--so what's the plan now, guys? What words of wisdom will you, those with more life experience and wisdom, share with the younger generation? How then should we live?
Don't get me wrong--I too long for the day when women feel safe and secure so that they can choose to give birth to their babies instead of abort them. I want to see homosexual people find hope in God. I also pray for peace in Jerusalem.
I just am seriously doubting your plan to elect the "right candidate" is going to work, and wonder how you managed to decide who was the "right candidate" was, anyway. I also have serious questions about why laws should govern abortion, but not also poverty. Or sexuality, but not ostentatious wealth. Or why I should be concerned about Israel, but not Colombia, Iraq, or Puerto Rico.
There are Christians who imagine politics in different ways, but you say those people aren't really Christians. And some of those Christians say you aren't really Christians. And people who aren't Christians think we are all the same--judgmental, close-minded, and irrelevant.
Maybe the bigger issue is that I'm starting to think the "outsiders" might be on to something. But if my gospel is not relevant to the neighborhood I live in, then the problem is not with the gospel, the problem is with me... or "us."
So what's the plan now, guys?
Should I bury my head in the sand, circle up the wagons and try to stay away from people who are different than me? Should I rally the troops, buy a gun, and start a third party? Should I blame it all on those Christians who really aren't Christians, and just make sure I hang out with the "right kind of people"?
This probably sounds harsh. I don't mean it to be harsh. I seriously want to know if I can reconcile seemingly opposite visions of the world, or if our differences are irreparable. I want to know if you are the kind of "grown up" that I want to become, or if I am the kind of "youth" that you want to "convert."