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I work with teens, which is enough to send shivers down your spine. They are a tough crowd EVERY day, not some days, not most of the time, but all the time. It’s very hard, almost impossible to get them excited about anything…even stuff they admit to liking.

For example, I teach a film production class and the kids get to use really cool equipment to make movies. I’m not kidding…they really get to make movies and learn about making movies. They had to apply to get into the class. So, you would think they would come running to the door for each class, asking what can we do today!

The reality is that I have to push many of them to work. Granted some just do more than you ask and are truly passionate, and those are the students I love. But, I think most about those that lose that passion, or at least that desire that made them interview for admission to the course. Or, those that worked hard on the first couple of films.

I wonder how much of this attitude has been part of their socialization. Have we taught our kids how to be complacent, lazy, and boring people? Have we given them everything they want without challenging them to live a life of passion and joy for life?

Shane Claiborne in “The Irresistible Revolution” tells the story of a kid in his youth group that gets busted for drugs because he was bored.

“Bored? God forgive us for all those we have lost because we made the gospel boring. I am convinced that if we lose kids to the culture of drugs and materialism, of violence and war, it’s because we don’t dare them, not because we don’t entertain them. It’s because we make the gospel too easy, not because we make it too difficult. Kids want to do something heroic with their lives….But what are they to do with a church that teaches them to tiptoe through life so they can arrive safely at death?”

I think about the kids I work with and my own kids who will be teens all too soon, and it scares me to think about what we’ve prevented them from doing because we wanted to protect them. I think my kids have been blessed by our adventures, but I’m afraid if I let them settle into a nice comfortable existence that is all about them and what they want, then I’ll lose them.

Claiborne continues, “Sometimes people ask me if I am scared, living in the inner city. I usually reply, ‘I’m more scared of the suburbs.’ The Scriptures say that we should not fear those things which can destroy the body, but we are to fear that which can destroy the soul (Matthew 10:28). While the ghettos may have their share of violence and crime, the suburbs are the home of the more subtle demonic forces—-numbnes, complacency, comfort—-it is these that can eat away at our souls.”

I want to challenge my kids to live for others, to give their lives away…that they may live.

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