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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Responding To VA Tech

I don't mean to be so slow on this topic, but I've thought a great deal about this.

How do you deal with these issues with your crew?

When 9/11 happened I was doing YM in inner-city Boston. We had scheduled a jr high dance for that evening (boy. was. I. excited.). I called Fr Tom, who was then the director of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese-what do I do?

I ended up canceling the dance, though the kids still came, expecting a dance. It was a very weird evening and I wasn't sure what to do with them. We circled up and I asked them some questions-do they have family in NYC, what are they thinking, what was going on with them...

And they were squirly as all get out. Some wanted to talk, some wanted to just start the dance, some - well, were just spastic junior high kids that didn't know up from down.

Recently I read a post on a blog that I can't remember (tell me if you know) and the mother was asking her son about Virginia tech. She was a little baffled that he and his friends continued playing video games and relaxing. He responded (paraphrasing) that he couldn't be there, he couldn't do anything but pray, so he'd said a prayer and it was as much as he could offer.

Lest you think he was unfeeling, I wonder if some kids respond that way. It's not real until it happens to me, or you. Or my school, or to my friends. It's just simply not real.

At the same time, it sometimes seem that insanity like this is ... common. And that is sad.

I found this from the Source. I like a lot of their material. It is an interview from a youth pastor who had students at Columbine High School and went through that horror 8 years ago. He has some good insights and advice.



Blogger The Fox said...

I'm not surprised by the boy's reactions. I encountered much the same when we did a prayer service at our lock in regarding the issue. I'll offer this thought that stems from a presentation I'll soon be doing on young adult culture and theology.

As a young adult myself (only 26) and one who works with young adults & youth our generations are not defined by Pearl Harbor, Vietnam, or Kennedy's assassination. Rather we are the generation of 9/11 and Columbine.

Uncertainty, transience, and mutability are what define our worldviews. Pearl Harbor had a country to blame, a place to focus on. Today we have a shapeless organization of frightening proportions.

I, as a poli sci major turned youth minister, see where the political ideas/ideals and religious & spiritual beliefs are interconnected. There are strong beliefs, but a hesitancy to claim a religion (have you heard, “I’m spiritual but not religious” before?) or a political party. There are strong ideas but unlike the generation before us, a more pragmatic outlook.

Tragically our youth exist in a world where they cannot count themselves safe in places previously viewed as havens from the chaos of the world. They know this, even if it is just on an instinctive level. They have faith even when they are unable to change this harsh reality. Part of what I see my job or calling is to help them see that through that faith they really can change that reality.

10:46 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

fox (if I may call you)

I think you are right. There has always been war or the threat of war, but I wonder that this generation has to deal with it more intensely.

First, because of what you said-a shapeless organization of frightening proportions. News media reminds us that terror cells exist all over the place and I just heard someone say this morning on the news that they were surprised that shopping malls hadn't been hit yet.

Also, with the immediacy of news outlets and the availability of seeing war in real time puts it right in front of our noses. It doesn't take weeks for correspondance to reach us is in the WW's but we can watch it live. Sick, but real.

I would be quite interested in your presentation on young adult culture and theology, esp if you are including your thoughts below, about political ideals and religious and spiritual beliefs.

11:10 AM  

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