We have a whole community full of youth ministers. Many adults who used to make their living (?Debatable) in full time youth ministry positions. And a slew of former camp counselors. Another section of kid advocates. Then add adults who generally like kids and a room full of involved, intentional parents. When people ask if we have a youth minister, I sort of laugh and then launch into a mini sermon about what it looks like to have Community Supported Youth Ministry. We use the whole village, yo. There is a rotating cast of adults who spend a couple hours of intentional time with our oldest kids--5th grade and up. Vanessa is our volunteer coordinator of these monthly gatherings. This month, I was lucky enough to be one of those adults. (Along with Vanessa).
We rounded up the youths and headed to Claddagh Coffee Shop for two hours of conversation. Think youths need to be entertained? Ha. Think again. At least this group doesn't. Plan A: Everyone bring 3 questions about God. We wrote these questions anonymously on scraps of paper and then threw each one out to the group. The conversation was so lively, we didn't even have a chance to pull out the board games we brought along as Plan B. People, these are 5 and 6th graders. Within five minutes, I quickly realized that I should take some notes so that we all might get a glimpse of what they are thinking about. Here is the list of questions and tangents:
Initial questions about God Why sadness? Why did the bible skip like 20,000 years? (No mention of dinosaurs) Who wrote the bible? What if God doesn't exist? What if God does exist? If God is all about love, why are some people so mean? What is time?
Which led us to: Sherlock Holmes Indiana Jones Harry Potter Lego Brick Bible Chapters of the bible are so different it's like we each took a piece of the story and wrote it in our own words Big Bang Theory (a theory, not the TV show) WW2 Religion verses experiencing God Heaven is for Real Life before the internet Life before indoor plumbing Isis Communion of the Saints (Dead people are at communion?) Time travel Senior citizen hip hop groups Ancestry.com What if Ancestry.com went all the way back to Jesus? Alzheimer's What about the platypus? Freedom in Christ Having a sixth sense that detects holy things? Having a sixth sense that detects/moves us to compassion Do you think God was delighted when we first left earth and landed on the moon? Don't you think we should spend an afternoon in a gondola asking these questions and hanging out? So, a trip to Denver then?
They aren't thinking about small anything. Big! They are thinking so big and beautiful it was hard to keep up. Honestly, it felt like a privilege to be let into the conversation. I already know they are theologians--and now I see they are philosophers. And I want to give them the moon. Next month, Denver for that gondola ride? I'm in.
*Two kids were out sick. The three that were able to participate came bearing 2 magic wands and 1 full length cloak.