More on Adolescence

When I wrote yesterday that our community is still in adolescence, I should have been clearer. So today I'll try to clear it up a bit. No... no one called to complain. Yet! I think, generally speaking, the overall attitude of our community right now is adolescence. But we exhibit signs of adulthood too. It is like we are in a transition stage, moving from adolescence to adulthood. As a community. We're kind of like my son one day years ago who was demanding to be respected as an adult and that he was entitled to his own opinion. The next minute we found him playing with Lego on the floor. I've read recently, and I can't remember the place I read it, that one of the major complaints of people who have been in church for years and years... those who have stayed and those who have finally left... is that they don't feel they were allowed to grow into adults, that the only stage that was acceptable and that was nurtured was childhood. I think this is true. As soon as people start acting like adolescents spiritually and practically, it causes many leaders serious concern. People are discouraged from thinking outside the box, experimenting with new ideas, and making mistakes. Adolescent attitudes and behavior are frowned upon. No wonder most people in church never make it to spiritual adulthood! They aren't allowed to be adolescents first. Which reminds me of my three kids. They were wonderful as children. They are now wonderful as they are and grow into adults. But I would've traded them in during the adolescent years for a Big Mac! But nobody offered. Just kidding. I wouldn't have traded them in... for a Big Mac. But the adolescent years are the most difficult, the most challenging, the most stretching, the most stressful, the most disturbing stage of human development. The temptation would be to keep them as children who are happy with, "You'll do as I say because I'm your father. Just because I said so!" And punish them if they don't. The adolescent stage is for learning how to be an adult with independence, confidence, wisdom and compassion. And it is gruesome getting there! So, I hope I've explained myself better. We are, as a community, trying to think and behave more like adults. We're not that yet. But I'm optimistic we will be and we'll be better for it. The painting/ drawing is one I did of my adolescent son waiting for his school bus on a cold, dark winter morning.
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