Monday, November 6, 2023

The lies we tell. . .

As I have written before, it is cringe worthy to hear the lies that high school and college graduates are told at their commencement.  Pretty much it boils down to you are the most special of every class that went before you, you are gifted beyond measure, you don't have to be true to anyone but yourself, and you can do and be whatever you want.  It positively makes me gag but worse than that it is a terrible lie that has the power to dash their dreams and ruin their lives.  On top of that these speeches generally promote their identity as individuals and minimize their need for or dependence upon others.  

What those at that stage of their lives ought to be told is that their hearts are generally the least trustworthy voice for them to listen to as they begin their adult lives.  They are also the most fickle.  We are already too full of ourselves coming out of the teenage rebellion years and we are already isolated by the shape of our culture and glued to our screens.  Those at this point in their lives should be encouraged to listen, to find people of wisdom, values, faith, and experience to help them find their path.  They should be told to look realistically at themselves -- not simply to know their limits but to know their virtues, skills, and abilities.  This surely requires seeking out and listening to those around them.

What those between 18 and 25 ought to be told is that they are not islands connected by wifi but a people created for community.  It ought to be obvious but it is not.  No child is born ready for life.  Animals are but not our children.  They were designed by God to depend upon and require the nurture of family and extended family and community.  It does take a village to raise a child -- not a governmental state or agency but a real village of people who share values and common cause within the fabric of our liberty and who are willing to serve others before self.  The screen age has blurred this reality and now our children have lost the most valuable support system God intended with the loss of family, home, church, and neighborhood.  Only a fool would send them forth crippled by their individualism and without an honest system of family, faith, friends, and the fellowship of the extended community to be their guide, their aid, and their conscience.

Online education only makes this even more obvious.  How can sitting alone in front of a screen be an adequate substitute for the classroom, for the guidance of a teacher, and for the conversation of peers?  Judging by the current post-covid text scores, it is not an adequate substitute.  Now, mind you, I am not at all suggesting the every teacher is equal in this regard or that the agendas behind every educational institution are laudable or honest.  But the system itself has failed our kids and not simply the people within that system.  The loneliness of our youth is matched only by the loneliness of the adults around them and the pain of this loneliness is wounding us, our kids, and our futures.

Added to the lies we tell is the truth we do not tell -- the identity of the child born of baptismal water, gifted with the Holy Spirit, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and endowed with the priceless value of Christ's flesh and blood offered for them once for all on the cross.  Added to the lies we tell is the truth we do not tell -- of God's ordered creation and our place within that order, along with the purpose and value that comes from our joyful acknowledgement of that order.  Added to the lies we tell is the truth we do not tell -- faith is not a quick shot out of death but a way of life, under the cross, pursuing as best we are able the life that reflects the value Christ has assigned to is, doing what is good and right and true and honorable in God's name within the earthly order and for the benefit of our neighbor.  No, we have a lot to learn about what lies we tell and the truth we do not.

1 comment:

Rob The Lutheran Tinkerer said...

Very well put, Pastor Peters! Also enjoyed your sermon on Beatitudes.

Rob Nebel