For you formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb (Ps 139:13 NASB).
Fade in: Interior–Christian Hospital Delivery Room
A baby’s first cry pierces the air. A cheer rises from the family and medical staff. The doctor confirms, “Yep, he’s got all his toes and fingers. Congratulations, you’re the proud parents of a healthy boy. Don’t break him now.” Laughs all around.
The proud father decries, “I can’t wait to teach him to be the next Michael Jordan.” The mother says, “No, he’s going to be president.” The father, more realistic, “No, I’ll make him a partner in the business. He’ll love it.” And so it begins.
Year after year, studies try to explain the continuing generational exodus of young people leaving the church. All too common reasons given include that the church is judgmental (87 percent), old fashioned (78 percent), too involved with church politics (75 percent) and the list goes on. Some statistics show that as high as 92 percent of Christian teenagers will leave the church and abandon their faith by their 20th birthday, and more than half of these never return.1 But rarely does any survey actually define the undercurrent causing the systemic drift, taking us all off course. Could it be that these reasons are really red herrings that keep us from getting to the heart of the matter?
A Biblical sidebar: For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13 NRSV), and God, who set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace…(Gal 1:15 NRSV). We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us (Rm 12:6 NRSV). Do we really believe these precepts? Or do we think they just make for great poetic prose? Are they a salient part of the Master Plan or is the Master Plan just about finality at the end of time? How important are these precepts in the big scheme of life?
How-to books hit the New York Times best seller list by the dozens every year, most recommending surefire ways of finding your path to happiness. This would certainly seem to indicate an insatiable desire to quench the thirst of a large sector of society that leads unfulfilled lives. After all, how many of us are actually living a life where our giftedness is being utilized?
Do you know your area of giftedness? Was your dream nurtured? Or did it get squashed by parents, church family, or the educational system? Questions, questions, questions. Any sporting coach worth his salt after seeing his team fall into a pattern of mistakes will say, “We’ve got to get back to the basic fundamentals of the game.” In the spiritual context that doesn’t mean the good old time religion of 150 years ago; try Genesis 1.
The Creator created us all in His image equally. Yes, equally. An imperfect world doesn’t change this divine core principal. If anything less were true, it would then make the Master Plan a fraud, and it would nullify what King David, the Apostle Paul, and Jesus Christ described as how we are to live. Our Creator intentionally and unabashedly infused in us His most core characteristic—a creative spirit driven by love.
1 Barna Group, http://www.barna.org/topics/faith-spirituality, (November 4, 2009).