Actively bringing about much needed change in our communities and hope to the broken and disheartened.
A guest post from our good friend Nate Austin.
Do you read regularly?
This is a question that could be taken a million different ways… Reading magazines, news articles, novels, fiction and non-fiction, tweets and status updates of all kinds are all very different things. So maybe a better question is:
What do you read?
I would imagine that the primary demographic that is associated with Ryan and Tyler is college-age friends, some family, maybe some students, and some a little bit older, but primarily 20-30. So you fall right in my range.
In the last five or so years I have probably read millions of status updates, hundreds of news articles and magazine features, listened to thousands of songs, and read a few books, all geared toward one overall subject: “20-somethings and the church.”
Though many different approaches to this specific group have taken place, trends have been tracked and then excused, it seems as though nothing reaches them… or me. We have been declared “a tragedy,” “a phenomenon,” and even a “faithless generation.” Other people believe that we are no different than other generations, just equipped with new technology.
We are, on a whole, uncommitted, not passionate, bored of the ordinary, and ready to be “Radical” Christians, full of this “Crazy Love” that we read about… but there is this one lingering problem.
We don’t read.
Oh well, Nate, I read. I can dismiss your post. I read articles, and magazines, and Facebook, and… and…
My point is this: We presently live in a time where oversaturation dominates our lives. It drives our material goals. It tests our emotions. It controls our relationships. It consumes our wallets. But as “20-something Christians,” it is even harder for us to draw the line. Because we are reading all of these articles, books, magazines, newspapers, and social networking, and for the most part they are good things.
Take me for example. I currently serve as a full time student pastor. I enjoy doing my devotions first thing each morning as I get into my office. I keep my phone turned off, I keep my computer shut down, and I keep my door closed. If I don’t take these precautions, I let good church work get in the way of the time I need with God. It’s not like I come in and do unspeakable things, but I let things that are good get in the way of my time with God, which is so much better than good. It’s the best.
Consider this: “good is the enemy of the best.” Have you ever heard that before? Did it motivate you to do better? Did you let it roll off of your back? Did it convict you?
As Christians, particularly as young Christians, this is something that is easy for us to overlook. The Bible is the best, but I would rather read a more current, more interesting, glossier book about the Bible. When did supplementary material, Bible commentaries, and following your pastor on Twitter become a complete substitution for God’s Word?
Please know that I am as much a part of this culture and this problem as the people who I am speaking to. I find it far easier to read supplemental sources and consider that equally as or more important than spending time in the Bible also, and I have no right to speak down to anyone about this. My goal is simply to help make people aware that this is something that has slipped into our lives and isn’t actually bad, but it isn’t actually something we should allow to replace our time in the scripture.
It has become easy to convince ourselves that we do everything for the glory of God, and though that might be the case, it often is not. Why do I play golf? So that I might one day lead someone to Christ on hole 13? No. Why do I buy the latest and greatest piece of technology? So that my meetings with other youth pastors will be streamlined and efficient? No. Why do I pick up books and read clippings from other authors about the Bible more than I actually read the Bible? I don’t have a good excuse for that one. Do you?