This morning I am feeling disillusioned. Disappointed. Confused. Frustrated. I'm not sure what word to put to it, but it is something like those words above. I don't know how to even muse about my thoughts. They're intermingled and garbled and tinged with emotion. And so I stammer...
This morning, I found two equally frustrating emails. The first was a query about how our small church plant congregation felt about switching our church services from 10:00 to 9:30 over the summer months so that folks can get outside to the beach and stuff sooner. I was blown away. I thought of the high view of the Lord's Day espoused by the Westminster Catechism (Questions 115-121) and the PCA Book of Church Order(Chapter 48) , both influential documents in our denomination, and I was puzzled and grieved even at the request. Although I don't ascribe to the restrictive ideas presented in those documents (I do not believe we are required on Sunday to refrain from "activities that are lawful on other days"), I do value the day as a day set apart for different things. Do we view our Sundays - all day long - as privileged days of worship and communion and fellowship and service, or are they just another "day off" for us to play?
The second email was from the youth group leader at our church. They are planning the final youth group event of the year, which takes place next week and involves a trip to see Prince Caspian together. I wrote back asking if this was a family event, but received a reply that it was for the youth group only. This makes me sad, but it doesn't surprise me, really. In my experience, most people (and consequently, most families, most churches, most programs, most whatevers) have one focus or the other... they are either "family-oriented" or they are oriented toward isolating people into age-segregated groups. It is rare to see a place that does both things well. And so my elder two children are placed in a position of choosing... choosing between going to see this movie as part of the church youth group, or going to see this movie as part of our family. We read aloud together The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last year as a family. We went to see that movie together. EL, then just six, actually wept in my husband's lap during the scene depicting Aslan's murder.
And we have eagerly anticipated the impending release of next week's follow-up film. We have gotten the Prince Caspian book-on-tape from the library and listened to it together over the last few weeks. We've mused aloud together about how they'll depict certain things, speculated about what they might change, pondered how we'll feel about the fact that Caspian is being depicted as a much older boy than in the book. The release of this film is basically something that our family has looked forward to with increasing anticipation over the past year.
And so the choice lies before us. I know what my choice would be. I know what my husband prefers, and I certainly know what their two younger sisters would choose. But I hate that the older two have to choose... choose between sharing this long-anticipated memory with us, or participating in the final youth group event of the year.
Why do we do this to kids? Why do we lament that they are so caught up in "youth culture," and bemuse their obsession with texting and MySpace, yet drive them at every turn to value time and interaction with each other more than with the entirety of the Body... young and old?! I think of the time my daughter was asked (during a youth group Bible study) to share the place where she felt most comfortable. She replied, "with my family," to which a youth group friend replied vehemently, "Ungh. Not me. I don't have anything in common with my family. I prefer to be with people my own age."
And there you have it.