One of the hardest parts about leaving my former job was knowing that I would lose connections with the young adults. Not that we wouldn't still be friends, but that I wouldn't see them on a regular basis. Like Jon-boy. I would see him two or three times a week. Lately, I get to see him once a week and there is no real conversation. That would be because we are too busy dissing "The Bachelor"...and I only started going to watch "The Bachelor" because it meant I could hang out with Jon-Boy and a couple of others. I miss the long conversations standing in the parking lot after youth group or the impromptu Taqueria gatherings. I miss the conversations about faith and life and humanity and all of the different things we would talk about at any given moment. I miss the opportunities to be on the sidelines, to encourage and to gently guide.
Last night, though, last night the opportunity arose to hang out with some of those Young Adults. We laughed, played games and started the deep conversations as the evening was winding down. Typical. I was up for a couple of hours after getting home just thinking. If I could go back and do one thing over, I would have started that young adult group years before. I would have invested more of my time and energy into being with them and helping them navigate the world outside of High School. Because outside of High School is where the real conversations started happening.
I've been doing a lot of reading about Young Adults and the Church lately. I've read the articles saying that Young Adults are walking away from the Church in droves and I've read a lot of speculation about why that is happening. Last night, as I was talking with a few of the young people, I would have to say that this article by Tim King is dead on. While that article has a definite political leaning, the ultimate meaning is the same, the Young Adults of this age are turned off by the hypocrisy in the Church. While we're at it, I'm pretty sure it's not just the Young Adults of this age that are turned off by the hypocrisy of the Church.
During the discussion last night, one of my Young Adult friends said "I wish there was a way to be Christian without being labeled a Christian." There was weariness in her voice. A weariness that caught my heart. She is entirely too young to be that weary of the Church and Christianity. Sitting in the back of the car, there was nothing else that I could do then let my head fall back and let out a sigh of sadness. I get it. I understand. It still hurts to hear that statement falling from the lips of one so young...
I have no answers. I only have my thoughts, my concerns, my speculation and the desire to continue the conversation...and to continue to care for, love, encourage and gently guide the Young Adults as God brings them into my path.