Where are we at?
Yeah, I’m blogging again. Theraphutic ,my wife says and maybe she is right. Our Teen Center is still happening and I think wonderfully so. That doesn’t mean it comes without struggles or pain. Beauty rarely does. I am still changing. My own Theology and practice keeps changing, I think because of experiencing God in a whole new way and many of my hard held beliefs has rubbed up against human stories and that has caused me to see thing through the lenses of love rather than doctrine. Not that the two cancels each other out but doctrine functions differently with love as an engine. You may believe the same thing, but it works out differently in relationships.
I am a strong opponent of drugs, but when a 14 old girl, living under horrible circumstances, smokes pot so she won’t cut herself, experiences with all kinds of sexual expressions to feel connected and loved, and you are one of the few who carries her story, your perspective change, your lenses change, your life changes…
I have deep held beliefs around sexuality, homo and hetro, but when a young, 14 year old gay teen, with deep pain and suffering, living in foster care, in and out of Juvi, teased and bullied, ends up at the Teen Center door step, my beliefs around sexuality does not become a dividing line or battle field. Love becomes again the lenses through which we see and engage him with. We have said since the beginning that any teen who walks through our doors are created in the image of God and should be treated as such.
I am learning that there are stories behind peoples behavior. You can learn more from their stories than you can from their behavior. Compassion and love are easier to find as you listen and carry peoples stories than if you focus on behavior.
I still cry. Probably more than ever. I drive home from the Teen Center so broken at times over the lives of these teens. I struggle with the fact that so much of their “sin” or “misbehavior” are just ways to survive, to make life livable. Ways to not go insane. Smoke a little pot so you don’t take out all your anger at your parents on your siblings. Have some sexual experiences to feel alive in an otherwise emotionally dead home.
I struggle with that so much of the church is absent. Hidden behind thick walls and huge parking lots. But i do it too. I hide sometimes as well from injustice and change.
I’ll end with a story from today;
My son got in trouble today for punching a guy, pushing him and yelling at him. The guy’s mom stormed into the teen center and wanted to talk to me and my “punk ass” kid outside. Outside I found out that my son, after countless attempts to make the guy stop teasing and bullying his gay friend, had enough and did something about it. Not the wisest choice of action, but standing up against injustice. I told the mom I would address my sons choice of action and her son’s choice of words and attitude. I’m not sure she liked that. Her son was only “teasing”, my son was violent… On our way home we discussed more “non-violent” ways to stand up against injustice and protecting our friends… we’ll se what tomorrow brings…