Mike has guest posted for me several times before; I love this guy. I especially love what he writes in this post. In his wise and winsome way, he is calling all generations towards each other so that the presence of Jesus can be felt more fully in the world. Thanks, Mikey. You can follow Mike on twitter here.
by Mike Friesen
No matter what we do, we cannot escape the fact that we are social creatures. We live our lives in shared space. We live in close proximity with family members, friends, significant others, coworkers, drivers, pedestrians… you get the picture.
No matter what we do, we also cannot escape the fact that we process reality through a social lens. We see ourselves through the lens of others. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t still feel pain from that thing that person said or did, even if it was many years ago. We wouldn’t still feel a sense of sadness over a loved one who past. We wouldn’t have this innate desire to be kind to one another. The family member, the friend, the significant other, the co-worker, the driver, the pedestrian, can all piss us off or make our day, because the shared space we are living within is imperfect. This is why, as Christians, the Cross and God’s eternal and infallible love for us is the purest identity that we can find.
No matter what we do we cannot escape the fact that we want to love and to be loved.
In his amazing book Love and Will, the great psychoanalyst Rollo May writes that there is one thing that connects human love and human will: the ability to reach out to another person. Loving someone is very risky, because it brings about the possibility of being wounded. Asserting your will is also risky because it brings about the possibility of being rejected and failing.
When a generation (the Millennials) is less than involved in matters of the Church, the Church feels it. When a generation is not shaped by the Church, the generation feels it. Christians of all ages are participating in shared space because we are ‘the body of Christ’ and we are ‘the Church.’
Change is a scary thing. Having someone assert their will upon you is a scary thing. So, when a generation that is rapidly changing from the one before it, it is a scary thing for the generation that witnesses it (just as it is to have the change done unto you). And, when that generation tries to assert their will upon you, it is a natural reaction to resist it. And, when someone rejects your assertion, like when a girl rejects a guy for a date, it is a natural reaction to run away from the one who rejects.
Millennials, we (I know this as one of you) feel it when we are disconnected from others.
Older generations, you feel it when you are disconnected from us.
Millennials, what would it look like if we reached out our hands again?
Older generations, what would it look like if you reached out your hands?
Can we live with the tension of having our wills asserted on one another? It doesn’t mean that we have to agree with one another. But, can we create an environment, a shared space, where we can peacefully and lovingly engage with the assertion of the other generation’s will?
And, can we live with the wisdom that some environments and some people are more brutalizing than others? And, that we may need enough space to keep love and will intact but without being harmed by it?
May we remember the words and prayer of Jesus,
John 17: 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
by Mike Friesen
You can follow Mike on twitter here.