To say that we’re living in, and through, strange times is to put it mildly. I was talking to some young people this week, and attempted to gauge their reactions and thoughts on what is occurring. By “young people” I mean teenagers and early 20’s. Now, this demographic, although not every individual, is historically known for being simultaneously idealistic, cynical, and confused, which is a terrible trio of viewpoints. But when I spoke to them I received none of those reactions. What I sensed was anger. One of them said, “The whole world is stupid.” At that point I wasn’t about to give him a lesson in English diction or phraseology. In hindsight, I believe that the anger was mostly likely caused by wounds that the adult world had inflicted upon his youthful idealism.
It’s vital that we address how this crisis is affecting young people and children. Yes, they have grown up with many, many conveniences such as cell phones, and streaming music. But more than a few adults I know–including myself– are a tad frazzled by all of the dazzling electronics at our disposal. And even though young adults, and many children, are very proficient in the technological use of this gadgetry, they aren’t extremely facile at understanding what a 24/7 world is doing to them.
God gave us the Sabbath. God instituted the Sabbath a very long time ago. How long ago? In the Garden, at the advent of time. If our first parents needed rest, and they had yet to experience sin and its devastating effects, then how much more do you think we need that day of rest? And human beings are so muddled in their thinking at times that later in biblical history He actually commanded the day of rest. Generally, parents institute rules because they know that children need boundaries; the youngsters are inexperienced and need to be protected from themselves. As the Internet insinuated its way into the fabric of our lives we’ve become increasingly busy. This is detrimental. Let me state this plainly: human beings aren’t wired for this type of life. The Sabbath institution is the proof of this assertion.
I will not seek to travel into the eternal counsel of the Triune God. Been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt. The tee-shirt read, “Did you enjoy that monumental waste of time?” We are finite; God is infinite. He knows everything; we lose our car keys–excuse me–the keys are now “fobs”. No one knows specifically what God is doing in this pandemic. However, there are certain fundamental truths that we may declare regarding God’s activity in any and all situations. 1) He is molding Christians into the likeness of his Son, 2) He is trying to get us to pay attention. We’ve put Him on hold in the Church for decades.
The Church (the capital “C” means all denominations) is busier than ever. Building projects, programs, more buildings, and still more programs. Jesus is Big Business. We have metrics that determine “success” not realizing that faithfulness is all we are to attempt. We’ve adopted a business model for the Church, and that is appalling. And, yet, despite all of our frenzied activity, we still see our beloved country descending into the sewer of cultural decadence. Do you see the disconnect? God isn’t impressed by our projects and our programs, and the reality is this–He’s not blessing the results. Christians are more biblically illiterate than at any time in our Republic’s history. Using that King James Bible to teach English grammar was a fantastic idea! Our children have their lives scheduled months in advance; we’ve stolen their childhoods and replaced them with programatic routines.
What exactly is the purpose to all of this. Most parents think these activities will benefit their children. I agree that some scheduled, supervised activities are beneficial. Children do not play that much anymore. When was the last time you saw schoolboys playing sandlot baseball–without uniforms and coaches. That is how they learn to work together, deal with differences, moderate themselves, and observe social mores.
God is most certainly telling the human race to slow down. Are we listening?