8/25/12 Priscilla, Shavon, early 20's
Outside some sort of Goth/Emo concert, (which took place at a Lutheran church, of all places!) three heavily tattooed and pierced young women were sitting on the sidewalk waiting for a friend to arrive with the beer. They suspiciously agreed to answer a question, so I asked about their beliefs regarding eternity. They generally didn't have any set ideas, but agreed they have souls that will go on in existence after death. "But that's not something we really care to discuss", hoping I would leave. Now I believe there is a difference between being obnoxiously insensitive and being caring enough to confront, so I challenged them. Maybe I'm generalizing, but their lifestyle choices proclaim that they reject "proper" etiquette and value being outrageous and speaking ones mind, so I said "Well I understand if talking about religion makes you feel uncomfortable..." They didn't want to be described like that so we went on to talk about why they reject the mainline Protestant or Catholic churches they grew up in. Bottom line, they view the Bible and ideas about God as man's attempt to control one another, and they wanted nothing to do with it. Further down the sidewalk, I ran into two African American women, Priscilla and Chavon, in their early twenties, who had some exposure to traditional African American churches. They were much more open to talking and had many questions about the Bible and their church experiences, but in the end they rejected any biblical answers in favor of believing almost exactly what the first group said - that religion is just a political tool to control people. "Do you fear God?" I asked at one point. "Absolutely not!" they said, which was also the same reaction as the first group. Having a Goth concert at a church probably didn't communicate any fear of the Lord! Fearing God seems to be a very outdated and inconceivable idea to a generation raised on the idea that God's job is to love us unconditionally. But the Bible says otherwise, referring to the importance of fearing the Lord dozens of times, such as Proverbs 19:23 - "The fear of the LORD leads to life". Of course a right relationship with God involves much more than fear, but we can't neglect our need to fear the Lord as we seek to pass along our faith to the next generation.