Every other Sunday, we have guests. Sometimes they fill the house, sometimes it’s just one or two folks. Sometimes it’s loud and raucous, sometimes it’s quiet and prayerful. It is always awesome.
I used to be a Youth Ministry Coordinator, and when one of my former youth group kids asked me to start up a young adult group, I of course said sure. Now when I say young adult, I don’t mean kids or teens. I’m sorry, but I just don’t understand when we started calling late teens adult, that’s just bad vocabulary. I am talking about college age young people, 21-30ish.
I totally understand why John Paul II had such a deep love for this age group. It’s hard not to. Please, don’t ever ask me to work with Jr High school kids, I just can’t take it. Twenty somethings however, I can do that every night of every week.
The reason I love this age group is twofold. First, they are hungry. They live in a world that is constantly attacking them, and they are on loose footing. They truly want to know how to handle life and it’s challenges, and are really trying to figure out who they are with a zest for life that no other age group can match. They are bombarded every day with evils and temptation that would make a roman prostitute blush, and at the same time they are trying to reach towards heaven and understand their place in the world. Talk about a tall order.
Second, they love philosophy. Wow! Most of the time when I start talking in the abstract, whomever I am speaking with starts to get this glazed look and the confusion starts to set in. My own wife just starts to get dizzy, and asks me to stop, my kids just can’t figure out what the heck I am talking about.
This generation though really gets it. They are looking for more than words and rules, they are looking for ideals and ideas on which to base their life. They want the big picture, not a list of regulations. It’s just downright refreshing, and super fun.
So we gather at my house around 6:30, and we have a quick prayer, and we dive right in. Ten minutes of small talk minimum, and then we just go at it full bore. We talk about life issues, marriage and sex, homosexuality, the death penalty, there is just no topic that is too controversial. I led one class where I was teaching how to explain Catholicism to Protestants, and they brought along three or four of their Protestant friends so that they could see it in action.
Who does that? Only this age group has the guts.
The only thing I love more than their guts, is their heart. This generation is truly a great hope. They really and truly feel the dangers that are present in the world, and really want to be the leaven that changes it.
As for me, I think they can.