A dear (and very wise) friend of mine has asked me recently why so many of the college students she has met in recent days seem violently opposed to the idea of being a “missionary.” It seems like they would much rather engage in silent social justice, and would do anything to avoid actually telling people about Jesus. I have seen the same phenomenon in my own work (after all, I work for the far-less-hip missions arm of our denomination, as opposed to our more socially acceptable (and dare I say “trendy”?) relief and development agency.)
When we recruit young people for our summer program, we have to ask some really difficult questions of them about what they think it means to tell the world about Jesus. Over and over again, I hear echoes of that post-modern refrain, “I don’t really feel like I have the right to push my beliefs on people. I would rather just show them God’s love through my actions.”
Is the difficult message of the Cross a thing of the past, a stale old remnant of bygone days? Of course not, but it seems that this new generation (people younger than myself) are utterly reluctant to label themselves “missionaries”. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the colonialism of the olden (and too often not-so-olden) days, and all the mistakes we’ve made in trying to evangelize the “heathens” . . . but it concerns me that we seem to be using our past mistakes to justify our current inaction.
Tonight, I came across these thoughts on the subject, and since this has been on my mind so much as of late, I knew I needed to share this here.
Let me know what you think.
One thought on “social justice without the Cross?”
Finding the right balance between action, sharing motivation for that action, and pacing is a challenge. When I was a Christian, there was a lot more emphasis on talking the talk than on walking the walk. Sure, my family bent over backwards to take all the right actions, but that was my parents’ work. Other Christians seemed to preach loudly, and active help was conditional. “Let your behavior be your testimony” approach seem a lot more honest.