A message for our teenagers.
Getting Confirmed is not about
choosing whether to be religious or not.
You already are religious – and so is everyone else.
Whether you are an atheist, Buddhist, agnostic, Jew, Moslem, Hindu, Christian, or a “Nothing” –
you already have ideas about what is true about the world.
You already place your faith in something or some ideas or someone.
For example, you might believe the universe will exist tomorrow
and that it is wrong to bully other people.
Those are two parts of your “Word View” – how you view the world.
Religion is just another word for “World View.”
And since everyone has opinions about the world,
everyone is already religious – even if they don’t think they are.
There is no magic divide between religious and non-religious people –
there are just people.
The question is – What do you believe is true,
and who or what do you put your faith in ?
Getting Confirmed is not about saying
your religion is right and everyone else is wrong…
Christianity says that all of us get some things wrong
and that the only one who gets everything right is God.
Christianity is not about saying you have all the answers,
it’s about saying that God has all the answers.
Think of it this way…
Everyone is standing somewhere. From time to time we may move around
– at one time we may be standing over there
and at another time we may be standing over here –
but everyone is standing somewhere.
Christianity is choosing to stand close to Jesus, choosing to stand with Jesus.
It’s not so much saying that you think other people are wrong
as much as saying that you think Jesus is right.
It’s not claiming you have everything figured out and will never change your
opinion, it’s saying you trust Jesus and you want to be loyal to him.
You have to stand somewhere.
It is not close minded to stand close to Jesus,
It’s not that you don’t want to be open to other peoples ideas,
you just choose to stand with Jesus while you do.
But what about Science ?
Any one who thinks there is a conflict
between real science and real Christianity
either doesn’t understand Science, or Christianity, or both.
The fact that the head of the human genome project
and many other great scientists through out history were and are Christians
makes this rather obvious.
Christians believe that Science helps us understand the natural world
but that by definition science is limited to knowledge about the physical world.
Thus it provides only a subset of what can be known.
It can’t “prove” some of the most important parts of life – like falling in love,
loyal friendships, or our meaning and purpose in the world.
The right equation is not Christianity OR Science, it is Christianity PLUS Science.
Why do Christians think that Jesus
and Christianity are different than all the other options ?
Most religions of the world are primarily about Good Advice.
“Don’t do that. Do this.”
Christianity is primarily about Good News.
It says that the God who made everybody on the planet and loves everybody on the planet
(regardless of what they call themselves)
came to earth to offer us a new way to live not based on our ideas but based on his.
Jesus intentionally said things that would make him unpopular.
He was especially unpopular with people who wanted to be in charge
and people who were self-righteous.
( If you think you are fine just the way you are – that means you are declaring
yourself righteous – i.e. you are self-righteous ! )
Jesus says that all of us are precious but that all of us do wrong things over and over again.
Doing wrong is like digging a hole – if you keep going and going,
you can dig a hole so big that you cant get yourself out.
Jesus paid the price not only to get us out of the hole now
but also to carry us with him both in this life and after this life.
If a guy lost in the desert had no news of any hope he might give up and die.
But if he knew that a plane had already taken off and was on it’s way to save him,
that good news would change everything for him.
Christians believe the plane is already on it’s way – Jesus has already risen
from the dead – and that good news changes the way we look at life.
Should I get confirmed ?
If Christianity is about anything, it is about telling the truth,
so being honest before God and others is a crucial part of it.
If you can’t in good conscience agree with the statements of faith
required to become a member of the church,
it is better to wait till you do – then to fake it.
Church Membership vows are a lot like wedding vows –
it is not a good idea to say them if you don’t mean them.
Confirmation can be a messy, confusing process, and frankly sometimes we adults
expect too little and sometimes we expect too much of Confirmands.
The basic question is this – forgetting what the future may hold,
realizing that there is much still to learn about the amazing world we live in…
do you want to stand with Jesus today ?
Right now, with what you know so far, do you think he can be trusted ?
Are you willing to believe he came for you, died for you, and wants you to try to follow him ?
Are you willing to believe that he actually rose from the dead
and then see where such a belief takes you ?
If so, I would encourage you to get confirmed.