RANT: Millennials

The RANT Starts Here!!

Ok, I have had enough. This blog is more of a rant. So, if you are having a great day, I would invite you not to read on any further. The exits are here, here, here, and here (you have to imagine me pointing to your keyboard).

Let’s Begin.

Let’s talk “Millennials.” Not sure that’s a true word, but what the heck: this is my blog. What is a millennial? It appears from reading and googling, and googling and reading, that the millennials are people born between 1980 and the 2000s. It’s ok if we generalize a little bit here. I read articles that keep getting posted by well-meaning people, well-meaning Christian people, well-meaning Christian, right wing American, I’m guessing Republican, white people, who seem to think that they speak for everyone when they post their articles. Before you go all conservative crazy on me, I fit in to that category mostly. Mostly, but not completely.

As I write this blog, a millennial whom I haven’t seen since I did his wedding 2 years ago wrote me a note thanking me for setting him on the right path, giving him room to question things, pouring into him, and then showing him gently the truth of Jesus and the Bible. He and his wife are extremely involved in Church and discipleship, and they went to Africa this past summer because they ache for lost people around the world. I’m not blowing my horn here; I am celebrating the fact that this is NOT unusual in the circles I minister in.

THE DOWN SIDE:

They don’t attend a little white church with a 1000 foot steeple, and brass plaques with people’s names on them all over everything in the church from, pews, paintings, to communion tables and everything else that can make a person look good because they gave to God. Please let’s announce our giving to everyone (Jesus clearly said not to do that) so every one can know how holy grandma and grandpa were.

Millennials in Leadership

I see millennials in leadership changing concepts of leadership and wanting to SERVE the world in areas of evangelism, justice, oppression, racism; it kind of looks like Isaiah 58. Yeah, maybe they should stop that. Maybe they should be more concerned about wearing a tie to church, making grandma proud instead of Jesus, and fitting into some kind of American Political Artificial Christian box. They should be more concerned about going to a church that sings songs about God written in the 1700s instead singing songs TO God (let’s just ignore the scripture “sing to the Lord a new song:” Psalm 96, 98, 149, Isaiah 42) because God probably isn’t interested in his children that are alive today writing new music that represents their hearts and love for him.  What are these millennials thinking? And then they do it with instruments that probably more resemble what is mentioned biblically (Revelation, Psalms) than an organ. I guess none of that really matters, but to some it IS the issue.

Who cares if the Millennials’ church is in the mall, the storefront, the school, or some back room somewhere? If it is supposed to be in a building, then what are we saying to the underground church, the persecuted church, the struggling church and the church that is trying to take Jesus to the people rather than demand that people come to the building? HECK, the building ISN’T the church anyway. But then, I’m not sure the generation and the people writing these articles get that either.

Now, to be sarcastic…

Yeah, these millenials are a pretty slovenly group as they pretend to embrace a watered down Jesus, with all that “rock and roll” music and those personal songs that are amazing: God doesn’t want that crap! Don’t even get me started on their tattoos and their piercings. OH, and the color of their hair.

I’m not saying they don’t have problems, but before you start throwing rocks at them, look at the divorce rate of their parents. You know, those people that are producing and leading the organizations that print and post these articles. But then, Jesus didn’t really mean those things he said about divorce, loving your enemy, using worldly wealth to make friends, and denying yourself. No, those people claiming to be the example to follow are fighting with their neighbors over the length of their grass, the boat that was parked in the driveway too long, and the dog who pooped on the grass.

Really important things that change the world and all.

I pastored that church. There were a couple grandmas that didn’t like that I had a mustache when I came, but then they didn’t like that I shaved it off. They didn’t want musical instruments in the church, but their children played Metallica at home on guitars and amplifiers. They kept me at or below the poverty level for approximately ten years, though the church was very, very well off. Yeah, that was a great church. There were wonderful people there, don’t get me wrong; but, through that organization God taught me a lot about how to NOT reach people, so I moved on.  I think I could go on, but it would just keep getting a little rougher.

Suffice to say, this generation is getting an undeserved bad rap. Lighten up and look at your generation; you taught them. A little old lady from a church I pastored years ago said it best, “as go the sheep, so go the lambs” (thank you, Ina).

The rant is now officially over.

Thank you for making it this far. Please wait to get up until we reach the gate. Remember, your emotions may have shifted during this blog, so open your arguments carefully. Grab your heart and hold on to it. Please do not cross your own convictions, but lighten up on the Millennials.

I promise not judge you by the few “pew-sitters” if you stop judging the whole of the Millennials by a few as well. I promise there are inspirational Millennials out there; you might even sit next to them in church, or they may be your grandkids or your kids. Their worship is not going to look like yours because they aren’t you; the world has changed since you got saved. You use an organ, they have newer instruments. It’s ok.

church baptism

Choose to believe the best about them. Support, encourage and celebrate their relationships to Jesus. Pour into them. Talk with them. Don’t be offended when they challenge the status quo. The church of Jesus, the BRIDE of CHRIST, is in really good hands as I see this generation embracing Christianity. It’s their need to search it out and not blindly accept whatever you say: that is causing the problems, as I see it anyway. With permission I close with a quote from a millennial: addressing an article that dressed his generation down, he says, “That [anti-millennial] mindset is the quickest way to kill a seeker’s curiosity of who Jesus is.” He takes great issue with the article at point number three:

“No. 3: Jesus is one of many ways to heaven.”

“What?!” Come on.  Really?  I can easily see how the author of this article would lump me into his broken view on younger Christians.  I know this to be not true. I know Jesus is God’s only son who came to die to MY SINS because God loves me that much.  To love me that much means he cares for me and knows what is best for me – like a father but also set out clear expectations to follow like a good King. This is not fair that these assumptions and judgments are made and put on this article to FUEL the disconnect between the “traditional church” and “millennial Christians”. Sad.”

Thanks for flying with me tonight. God bless you as you all chase after knowing God.

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Why I won’t post the 10 Commandments at Church

CHICKENS I SAY!

You ever seen a yard full of chickens? You know, all those white and orange and red birds, walking around pecking the ground, hunting for a kernel of corn, or feed?

chickens

It is interesting to me to see Christian people acting like chickens in a yard, as they start quoting one or two scriptures that they demand people live by. I’m not against scripture, but usually it is their favorite hammer to beat people with. You know that one scripture that defends against a particular pet peeve of theirs. I used to do this a lot in my spiritual youth: “Hunt-N Peckers” I call them. They hunt and peck around the Bible finding that one verse, or a passage they can bend and take out of context, to force someone to conform to their understanding. It really gets sad when “Christians” reach back into the Law and bring it forward to “Hammer time.” Cue the music, close your eyes and see MC Hammer dancing sideways, back and forth across the screen of your mind.

The LAW

10 commandments I refuse to post the Ten Commandments in the church we planted. I won’t do it. (well, we will for a children’s lesson or a sermon series, but that’s it) I also don’t get real upset when it can’t be posted in any local court house, except that some of the judicial ideas this country were founded on are found in them; or so I’m told.

I just can’t get past the idea that these represent the Law from which Christ died to set me free.

 Wiped them out he did

Colossians 2:13-16 (NKJV)
                         13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with
Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us,
which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed
principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. 16 So let no one judge you
in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,

Jesus himself said in

Matthew 5:18 (NIV)
                            18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by
any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

nail-punctured-hand-of-christIn saying this he let us know that the Law was in effect UNTIL he paid the price. Once he paid the price, it was over. Done! Finito!! No mas!! Nailed to the Cross. I am not subject to it. That is exactly what he said when he said on the cross, “It is finished!” He wasn’t talking about the beatings, or the nailing, or the living, he was talking about paying the price. The blood of bulls and goats cannot take away the sins of man, nor can the annual sacrifice of those animals, they only serve to remind us that we are sinners.

Think of it as a debt that you owe God; you can’t pay the principle because you are a broken human being. You aren’t perfect. You can only pay the interest each year with your sheep and goats, and bulls and doves. You need the principle paid in order to stop the interest from accruing. Jesus lived a perfect life. No sin! He can pay the price if he is gracious enough. And he is. Who but for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, scorned it’s shame and is seated at the right hand of God the father (Hebrews 12:2) What possible joy could he have been talking about while looking towards Calvary? YOU! He was looking through the cross to you. He wanted to save you. He saw you there. He wanted to make the debt that you owed God stop!! HE LOVES YOU!

So after he goes through all that to do away with the regulations of the written code, the Law, the Law of Moses, the Law of sin and death, why would I post them on the walls of the very place you should come to find freedom?

The LAW just holds you down and reminds you that you were a sinner separated from God. The Law served to condemn us, to teach us we are sinners. Not any more.

Galatians 3:23-25 (NKJV)
                          23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be
revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith
has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

And what about those people that still reach back into the Law for one Law to control others with? The Bible says when you reach back to use the Law to control the free, you prove that you don’t know God.

Galatians 5:4 (NIV)
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Because once you reach for one Law, you have to keep all 613. Oooops, you thought there were only 10? No, there are 613. And if you reach for one you get all of them; they are inseparable. One unit.

Galatians 3:10-11 (NIV)
                    10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not
continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before
God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”

You have been set free, why would you hang the shackles up for everyone to worship? Why would you threaten to put them back on people whom Christ died to save?

I do believe that freedom is not my excuse for low living, no doubt. But then, You and I aren’t the judge or jury, we share an invitation and the Word: Jesus set you free from the Law, so I will not hang them in the church.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” This is what Jesus said was the greatest commandment, “and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I’ll hang that everywhere!!