Mike Yaconelli on churches displaying distrust in God

From Contemporary Youth Ministry:

I have observed too many churches and youth ministries whose methods expose a consistent distrust of God. These ministries embody a sense of urgencyu that communicates a God who is either a relentless taskmaster or completyely impotent. This ist he “functional atheism” of which Parker Palmer writes. In youth ministry it appears as an endless parae of duded-up Christian rock stars, hyperactive activities, word-heavy programs, and teen devotionals covered in exclamation marks!!!!! There is a tangible sense that God must be dressed up or hidden behind high-energy music and charismatic speakers. Our churches and ministries seem deathly afraid of any kind of downtime. All silence and stillness is eradicated for fear that youth might find God disappointing, boring, or absent. It’s as if our church and ministry leaders suspect God has left the building, and so they stall with jabbering words and meaningless activities in hopes the crowd won’t become restless.

In contrast, Jesus isn’t afraid of reality. He isn’t afraid of doubts, or downtime, or disappointment, or boredom – in fact, I might even claim that he finds boredom, disappointment, and doubt critical to spiritual growth! He’s not embarrassed or ashamed of God’s presence – even when God appears ineffective in teh face of great evil and siffering. Jesus love the true, living, mysterious reality of God more than our names and images of God. He trusts that if we seek the truth our our existance, we’ll disconer the reality of God’s abundent love. So Jesus urges us to stop. He invites us to come away to quiet and deserted places. He asks us to be still and know. He calls us to take a moment to do nothing. He urges us to turn our attention away from our anxiety and busyness and to simply to notice the work God is already doing.

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