They Said "I'm Sorry"...

“Pete, we just wanted to call and say… well… we were douchebags back in youth group.”

“Yeah, we were jerks. You were right. And we’re sorry.”

“All those things you talked about – about postmodernism and the church? Well, we think we're there too now. We agree. And, yeah, we're sorry.”

Last weekend I got that call from several young men who used to attend a Wednesday small group I tenuously led at the local megachurch several years ago. These boys were funny, good-natured and mostly well-intentioned, but they were also the most loudly condemning of the questions I raised. I was gentle, especially in that setting, and mindful not to destroy any worldviews. But I did question the watertight conservative Evangelical worldview they’d been raised with. And I gave them permission to question, too.

These three boys called me a liberal, and brought me toy guns as gifts, in hopes I’d be converted to their brand of militant teenage conservatism. I assured them I had already come from there, and knew all-too-well the worldview they had inherited.

Their parents disapproved of me too.

The wonderful thing was, the boys kept coming to Wednesday nights. Granted, one of them stopped for a time. He was too frustrated after I suggested a Christian might vote for John Kerry for religious reasons. But he eventually came back (equipped with newly prepared retorts).

And now, three years later, they all apologized to me. With their own eyes, they can see the inklings I shared. And they’re not afraid – they’re excited by it!

Oh, if adults could be so gracious as to sit through stretching sermons and small groups, remaining in community with the folks they disagree with. Sooner or later, we might all stretch each other. We might never agree, but the Holy Spirit can’t work among us if we’re not together. I can’t admit to you that I’m a douchebag if you’re not in the room to hear it.

read more about my thoughts on Christianity in the real world at www.essenceproject.blogspot.com...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Pete, I remember back when we had the college group at our home, in Albany. You were always able to stir things up with different ideas.

I believe that most of us adults and kids spend too much time with people just like us and are afraid of any new ideas. We need to spend more time in the world and less time within the walls of a church, and with our Christian friends. That's my goal for this year.

I just returned from a trip to Louisiana to help people whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The group that went was not all Christians as were people we helped. It was a good experience for all of us, as we worked together.

I wish you the best as you further your education.

Steve said...

It bugs me when someone leaves an ananymous comment. That last one was from me. I just didn't have my blogger ID.

Steve

2Pete said...

Steve, I thought that might be you. Thanks for stopping by - it's great to hear from you.

You said:
"We need to spend more time in the world and less time within the walls of a church, and with our Christian friends. That's my goal for this year."

That statement really goes to the heart of what I think my calling is. I write a lot about interactions with non-Christians and the world at www.EssenceProject.blogspot.com.

Take care and keep in touch,
Pete(r)

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