by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation
“I’m a fool for Jesus, Whose Fool are You?” OK, so I am writing this on April Fools’ Day. But please, take me seriously! 🙂
As a young Jesus Freak in the 1970’s, I wrote this quote on a sign and marched in parades, playing the outspoken odd-ball, the one who could speak extemporaneously about Jesus without fear. Sure, I lost some friends, drew some criticism; but for me this behavior was evidence of my Christian faith.
This past week I was with thirty Mennonite Church leaders at the annual Resource Advocate Retreat. We received amazing new ideas, resources, networked, prayed and ate together. These days were totally heartwarming and affirming of Mennonite Church USA denominational agencies who led our gathering and offer so much in print, DVD, and web.
I also had some heart-to-heart conversations with mothers, like me, who have young adult children who do not connect to a church. Serendipitously and spontaneously, several of us opened up to each other with stories of heartache, disappointment and grief. One shared how occasions like Christmas and Easter have lost their “faithy luster,” because these holidays are not to be celebrated as Christian with their children. I understood. I have visited with Mennonite mothers who have children who are married to Muslims, to Wiccans, and to atheists. Most are not well equipped to deal with these new relationships. It’s not that we don’t love our children and their spouses. But when Christ is the center of our lives, these relationships are very difficult to navigate. I personally often feel tongue-tied around my own children, not knowing how to express my Christian faith in their midst of their un-faith. I try so hard not to offend, and so I say very little. Once I was not afraid to be the fool; now I am not even sure how to pray.
Some resources connecting to this topic:
Research into the perceptions of sixteen to twenty-nine year olds reveal that Christians have taken several giant steps backward in connecting with youth and young adults. Find out why these negative perceptions exist and some ways of reversing them in a Christlike manner.
Mueller offers essays to help us understand what it means to God’s people and the world’s culture to meet, and bring to this clash, the call of Jesus in our lives.
Speaks to the enormous changes that occur emotionally and practically as the nest empties and children take flight. Also talks about the growth that can happen in our spiritual lives and with our spouse.