December 01, 2005

It's Dark Today

Sunday night, the clouds arrived, and the weather turned cold. Light rain came down on Monday, and stuck around Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, it came down harder, and the wind started blowing. There has been no sunlight. It's been dark all week.

I substitute taught English today. A tenth grader shared with me several poems he'd written, poems about meaningless, despair, and doubt. Several of his classmates this week were either suspended or expelled from school for various offenses. And I'm left wondering, what message can the church give them, what word of hope and encouragement? Why is church so irrelevant to them? Why are they so lost, and we, who are "found," can't help them find their way?

The clouds are thick. Warm light shines from windows, even in the middle of the day.

3 comments:

Jennifer Freeman said...

I hope I'm not veering too far off of the subject of your post, but it reminded me of something that happened. This past summer my church had a booth at the city's Pride festival. We had quite a few visitors to the table, but few of the high schoolers or just-out-of-high schoolers visited. I watched their faces as they looked towards our booth as they were walking by; we were offering a free book. They looked at our booth and then looked up to see who we were. The moment their eyes saw our sign that we were a church, they scowled a little (not at us, but just as an expression) and shook their heads that they didn't want the book, even though it was gay-affirming. It wasn't a mean sort of reaction; it was an honest reaction to seeing that the booth belonged to a church and I know that they knew we were there in support. I felt depressed when I got home after seeing their faces. It was like we had been stereotyped as someone not to hook up with, like we'd lost their trust in some way. I had thought that anyone would be glad to see us there being supportive, especially those gay kids in schools who get picked on on a lot of days. I'm not sure how to reach them.

Danny said...

Jennifer,
Thanks for your comment. One of the most distressing things I ever heard was from a friend of mine who's gay, who said that it's actually harder for him to be "Christian" around his gay friends than it is to be a gay man at church. Christians have given themselves such a bad name that his friends couldn't even imagine why he'd ever want to go to church...

Jennifer Freeman said...

Before I met the people at my church, I didn't even know there were Christians that would accept me. Before, all the Christians I knew always had to have "the talk" about how they thought it was wrong to be gay and I could feel their disapproval or discomfort when I talked about my partner. I always felt only half loved with them. When I first started going to my church, I had to get used to Christians who truly loved me as a gay person. It sort of twisted my brain to combine the label of "Christian" with "someone who loves and accepts me as I am." I couldn't not be Christian and I couldn't not be gay. Now church is the only place where I come together as a whole person. It's really nice to have a place like that and that's why I want to share it so much with those kids.