The New Legalism: Missional, Radical, Narcissistic, and Shamed – Anthony Bradley offers some helpful thoughts on the repercussions of overemphasizing “radical Christianity” and the imposed dichotomy made between this type of Christianity and “mundane Christianity.”
Although I believe there is room (and even need) for both types of living out our roles in Christ’s kingdom, the way this is misrepresented often leads to drastic repercussions. I don’t believe that Bradley offers a perfect critique or solution here, but his observations are insightful and needed.
“I continue to be amazed by the number of youth and young adults who are stressed and burnt out from the regular shaming and feelings of inadequacy if they happen to not be doing something unique and special. Today’s Millennial generation is being fed the message that if they don’t do something extraordinary in this life they are wasting their gifts and potential. The sad result is that many young adults feel ashamed if they “settle” into ordinary jobs, get married early and start families, live in small towns, or as 1 Thess 4:11 says, “aspire to live quietly, and to mind [their] affairs, and to work with [their] hands.” For too many Millennials their greatest fear in this life is being an ordinary person with a non-glamorous job, living in the suburbs, and having nothing spectacular to boast about.”
“As a result, living out one’s faith became narrowly celebratory only when done in a unique and special way, a “missional” way. Getting married and having children early, getting a job, saving and investing, being a good citizen, loving one’s neighbor, and the like, no longer qualify as virtuous. One has to be involved in arts and social justice activities—even if justice is pursued without sound economics or social teaching. I actually know of a couple who were being so “missional” that they decided to not procreate for the sake of taking care of orphans.”
“A few decades ago, an entire generation of Baby Boomers walked away from traditional churches to escape the legalistic moralism of “being good” but what their Millennial children received in exchange, in an individualistic American Christian culture, was shame-driven pressure to be awesome and extraordinary young adults expected to tangibly make a difference in the world immediately. But this cycle of reaction and counter-reaction, inaugurated by the Baby Boomers, does not seem to be producing faithful young adults. Instead, many are simply burning out.””
Why is Christ’s command to love God and neighbor not enough for these leaders? Maybe Christians are simply to pursue living well and invite others to do so according to how God has ordered the universe. An emphasis on human flourishing, ours and others, becomes important because it is characterized by a holistic concern for the spiritual, moral, physical, economic, material, political, psychological, and social context necessary for human beings to live according to their design. What if youth and young adults were simply encouraged live in pursuit of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, education, wonder, beauty, glory, creativity, and worship in a world marred by sin, as Abraham Kuyper encourages in the book Wisdom and Wonder? No shame, no pressure to be awesome, no expectations of fame but simply following the call to be men and women of virtue and inviting their friends and neighbors to do the same in every area of life.”
“Perhaps the best antidote to these pendulum swings and fads is simply to recover a mature understanding of vocationso that youth and young adults understand that they can make important contributions to human flourishing in any sphere of life because there are no little people or insignificant callings in the Kingdom.”
Destroying Your Child’s Heart – One FB Picture At A Time – This article has been making rounds on the Internet, but it’s some good food for thought to come back to, or to read for the first time.
(Of course, there is no black and white line that clearly delineates between what is appropriate to share and what is a clear affront to a child’s privacy.) I have definitely failed here, even though this is an area sensitive to my heart. At the same time, let’s give ourselves, our children, and our own parents grace, but let’s also work to view this from loving our little neighbors as ourselves.
“Katherine Bindley, on HuffPo, wrote a great article detailing this new trend in parenting complete with plenty of examples. Interested in viewing the shame of others? Go there and read her take on it. Good stuff.
Public shaming is awful and is nothing less than societally sanctioned parental bullying. Especially harmful to the young people against whom it is used as a weapon, the ramifications will resonate throughout their lives. They aren’t as tough as we pretend we are.
Friends, this is not funny or classy. It is brutal and base.
Not even a little bit funny.”
Hackschooling makes me happy: Logan LaPlante at TEDxUniversityofNevada (YouTube Video Link) – This is a rather incredible speech by a 13-year-old whose mother took him out of traditional schooling to purse what he calls “hackschooling.”