Tease me if you want but I sometimes love facebook. I like reconnecting with old friends and seeing how our lives have turned out. Sometimes I laugh because they are exactly as I thought they would be. But yesterday, I found two friends on facebook and it stirred a great excitement. Both were friends from youth group at the beige church. I got frustrated at times with them because they seemed like the perfect family. Both went to Christian schools, were always talking about good quiet times or retreats, and listened to Christian music; people loved them. In my normal cynical fashion, I assumed they would go on to be pastors, wear polo shirts and never really encounter the real world. I am a judgmental jerk at times. And often, I am realizing, I am completely wrong.
I was right that they would go on to be pastors. But not the way I assumed. One is leading a community of "skeptics and dreamers" in Pennsylvania. The other is a youth pastor in Colorado. From what I have heard from them and read of their work, they are doing amazing things. I found myself getting excited about how God is at work in our lives and communities. But mostly about how God through His Gospel transforms peoples lives.
They say you should never assume because it makes an ass out of you and me. I assume anyway. In this case, I figured I was the only person who had grown up in Sunday School and seen the error in some of its teachings. I wanted everyone who went to Sunday School with me to have turned out to be robots who blindly believed everything. It gave me a feeling of superiority- I was the smart one, the only one who could reconcile the problems in the institution with the truth that I hold so dear. I am ready to admit I was wrong.
Sure, there are probably some who never get out of the mindset that whatever they learned at church must be true. But, what I realized this morning is simple: God is bigger than Sunday School. These guys I reconnected with know the Gospel and speak of redemption. God reached past our limited knowledge of grace and showed all three of us its power. No one is beyond it- no matter how perfect his/her life may seem. These guys are living real lives. I arrogantly thought that anyone who was the model youth group attender could not possibly live with such authenticity. I am happy to be incorrect.
I am not the only one to believe this story and I am excited, for the first time, to meet others who share this experience. All is not lost. And maybe, my cynicism is cracking...