Dear Millennials and Post-Millennials,
I am writing to you, as a Christian, to extend my sincerest apologies. We (Christians) have got you figured all wrong . . .
Believe it or not, I was once in your shoes. I remember vividly wanting to be accepted for who I was. I did not want my flaws to be thrown back in my face as I was well aware of my own shortcomings already. I was interested in eternity; however, I was too busy trying to just survive the moment. What I did with my life was my business. If I was wasn’t hurting anybody with my actions; then, nobody had the right to tell me how to live – especially hypocritical “church” folk!
I mean, serisously! How is a ‘pastor’ going to tell me to put ten percent of my money in the basket when I can barely pay my bills? There he is wearing a $3K Armani suit, driving an $180K Mercedes Benz and living in a million dollar house in a gated community – while I can barely afford an $140 JC Penny suit, driving around in a beat up Chevy and living out of my mother’s basement. . .
And it’s not just the church leaders . . . How can church folk tell me that I need Jesus – that I need to come to church; but then they turn up their noses at me when I do show up? How can they question my Christianity because I don’t speak in tongues; but, they claim to be Christians while they’re out at the club on Saturday night trying to get their freak on? Really?!?!
For a group of folks who claimed to love like Jesus, I found Christians to be the most judgmental, hypocritical and cliquish people that I had ever come in contact with. I just wasn’t feeling them! Well my millennial and post-millennial friends, I understand your frustrations; but, I’m going to need you, for just one moment, to open your mind’s a bit.
First of all, I need to acknowledge that just because somebody claims that they are a Christian doesn’t make it so. There are a lot of ‘church’ folk that get it wrong – just like there are some white folk who are racists; some black folk who are thugs and drug dealers; and, some latino folk who are illegals. But we all know that not all latinos are illegals; not all blacks are thugs and drug dealers; and, not all whites are racists, right? well, all Christians are not bigoted hypocrites either . . .
You and the Christian, millennial/post-millennial, share a common tie: You are all human; and as such, none of us are perfect. We all screw up! How can I judge your sins when I have a set of my own to contend with? I can’t. And besides, that is not what being a Christian means anyway.
I hate cliche’s; however, I am goig to use a couple to help try and prove a point. The first is this: Christianity is not a religion – it’s a relationship. Religion is a bunch of rules that tell you what you can and cannot do. But, when you are in a relationship, you are not driven by rules. In a relationship you are driven by passion and desire. As a Christian, my desire is to live by the example of Christ. My passion is to set a similar example for someone like you, millennial/post-millennial – to be a beacon of light in an otherwise dark world. I have no interest in telling you what you can or cannot do. I have no desire to tell you what is right or wrong. I only want to live in such a way that my relationship with Christ is evident – to you, to the church and to the world.
The other thing is this: Church is not an organization – it’s an organism. To those looking from the outside in, church is that place where you go for a couple of hours on Sunday before the football games come on television. Some churches may have become that place in this modern society; however, that is not what church is meant to be. Church is meant to be a body – a living and breathing organism. Church is not meant just for the exclusive. If that were the case, most of the churches in America would shut down because there are none so exclusive that they are without sin! We all fall short.
Thinking of church as a body, we were all created to be a part of that body. Even the healthiest body will occasionally fall ill; or, experience some sort of injury. When you have a stuffy nose, do you cut it off and throw it away? What about when you scrape your knee? Do you amputate your leg because of that abrassion? No, you don’t! When your nose is stuffy, you treat it with a decongestant so that you may breathe again; and, when you scrape your knee, you clean the wound so that it will not get infected and you place a bandage on it so it may heal. My point is that being part of a church is more than belonging to some elitest club. Being a part of a church is to be a part of a body; and, all bodies need nurishment to stay healthy and strong.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, because many of you think that we (Christians) are intolerant bigots . . . You think we judge you becuase you dress differently. You think we discount your value because of your music and the television shows that you watch. You think we hate you because you are involved in a same-sex relationship . . . But none of that is true, millennial/post-millennial. The truth is, we love you – more than you can ever imagine! I will admit that we may not always show our love to you in the best way; however, the truth of the matter is that we still love you!
Remember this: Jesus did not push away those who were in sin. He loved them – He loved US all! He scoffed at the religious. He flipped the tables of those who were exploiting the temple. He ate with sinners. He defended the weak. To be Christ-like is to embody those traits that Jesus displayed. Throughout the bible, there are examples of Jesus giving people the choice to accept him or not. I cannot and will not tell you that you have to do anything. Your freedom to make your own decisions is a God-given right; but, because I love you, I am always prepared to share with you the reason for my hope in Christ Jesus.
So again, millennials/post-millennials, I am sorry that we (Christians) have misunderstood you. I am sorry that we have isolated you or made you feel unaccepted or unloved. You are, indeed, loved – by us and by the Lord who created you!