At church this morning a missionary from Guatemala spoke. He shared about working with young adults in a little village, high in the mountains. People, if you had listened to him speak without hearing the word "Guatemala" you would have thought he was talking about young adults in America.
There were many things that he said that made me want to jump up and shout "AMEN!". He spoke of a churches expecting young adults to walk into their church traditions and find Jesus and yet the young adults are looking for a something little more modern, warm, engaging and they aren't finding Jesus in the church traditions. He spoke of the church looking at the community of young people and calling the ones who go along with the ideas of the traditional church as the "good ones" as opposed to those who aren't comfortable with the traditional and looking for something different as the "bad ones". He spoke of ministering in a community that saw him as an outsider as one of the "bad ones" because he pressed against the traditions of the church and didn't just accept them. He spoke of ministering to the "bad ones" who wanted to actively engage with Jesus. The statement that had me scrambling for a pencil was this: "Young Adults don't relate to a cold, hard, stone Jesus hanging on a cross. They need a flesh and blood, engaging Jesus. They need the Easter Jesus."
Sitting in church this morning, listening to the missionary from Guatemala, I realized that the church universal, in the United States and out, has a lot of work to do. We can no longer just sit on our traditions and expect people to walk in and be comfortable. This goes beyond hymns vs. praise songs, liturgy vs. contemporary. It's time to wake up and realize the Jesus many are talking about in church isn't the alive Easter Jesus, it's the cold, hard, stone Jesus hanging on a cross. It's the Jesus who condemns, rather than the Jesus who loves. It's the Jesus who made rules as opposed to the Jesus who broke the rules.
I'm feeling fired up today and praying about what to do with that!