Posted on April 19, 2012
Girls. Boys. First Ave. Church.
So, here I am, raising two girls andÂ I amÂ tiny bit freaked out by the job. I assumed I would have rough and tumble boys. This is not the case.
At our house, we are entering into a new phase: one where we can no longer control all the input, influences and interactions. New words are learned on the bus. Lyrics on the radio and on the MP3 player lead to wild conversations. Those cute children’s cd’s? Yeah, they are long, long gone. It’s Adele, Decemberists, Cake. This morning, we talked about what pagans are (Dar Williams, Christians and Pagans).
The music conversations delight me. I have been waiting for these.
But other parts of this phase are terrifying: bullying, mean girls, media, body image.Â Way back at the beginning of my decade in youth ministry, I read Reviving Ophelia Â (which lays out a fairly stark uphill road for our lasses). Don’t worry, I also read Raising Cain to better understand all the boys in my life.
The last time I was at First Ave, I leaned over to my date and said, “Where the hell are the women?” They certainly weren’t on stage. They weren’t in the posters for the upcoming shows, either. How is it that all these guys have enough self-confidence to make it to this point? I am not saying that they ought not be up there, singing their little hearts out. But for cryin’ out loud, who toldÂ the 8 year-old-girls “no?” Because much of what I read says this is the age when they begin to believe that message. No, you can’t. No, you are not enough. No, you are not capable.
A friend passed this along this morning (worth your time, I promise): Â http://www.upworthy.com/what-happens-to-3-out-of-4-girls-after-leafing-through-a-fashion-mag-for-3-minut?rc=pÂ on the heels of reading that the St Paul School District decided it was okay to advertise in the hallways and on lockers. http://www.twincities.com/stpaul/ci_20417665/st-paul-schools-rethink-its-advertising-policy. Enough!
So, here is what I have to offer. All of this makes a strong argument for church. I’m serious. Because if we are doing our job well (the job of being church), we are offering another way…another story by which to live. And in that story, things are reversed. The last are first, the lowly are lifted and by God, kids are told that not only are they enough–but that they are the leaders. And lead, they do. Pointing out injustices, not letting us forget about the most vulnerable, calling us on our shit, humbling us, pointing us to grace.
If given the choice, most kids I know would not choose church. “Boring! Dumb! It’s a myth!” Over the years, I have heard it all. Kids don’t actually want church—but man, do they need church.