Fearless or Foolish
We all know that boys in the teen years tend to be adventurous to the point of recklessness. Our friend James McDonald posted a link on his Facebook status (note: he was horrified) about a church reaching out to teens through a program they call Fearless. What kind of reaching out are they doing? They are challenging teens to lick peanut butter out of the pastor’s hairy armpits or off of his hairy feet. Huh? What are they thinking? Evidently it is a stunt meant to build buzz; to make teens say to their friends, “You’ve got to see this!” and then presumably, once they are there, they share the gospel with them. And the teens take the pastor who’s got peanut butter in his armpits or who just swallowed a goldfish as a serious source of life wisdom. Right.
I don’t doubt that these pastors mean well. I don’t doubt that they have a passion for men’s souls. But, we are commanded to follow Christ and I have a really hard time picturing the Lord doing these things. Why?
It reminds me of some of the things I heard in graduate school. The idea was that it didn’t matter what children read, as long as they read. This is bogus. As Christians, we can’t separate the content from the action. What we do matters. Likewise, it isn’t enough that people are in church – what are they doing there?
I believe this is a corruption of the God-given desire for taking reasonable risks, for adventure, that God has placed in men. How much better, though, to challenge those young men to greater heights of self-sacrifice than to try to keep from vomiting. Why not challenge them to have the guts to street preach or visit a prison or go on a missions trip to a dangerous place? A seventeen year old is plenty old enough to do real things instead of showboating he can handle gross stuff better than the other guy. If so, why isn’t he a volunteer fireman or EMT? Why isn’t he working an inner city ministry? Did God make him strong and brave to lick peanut butter out of a pastor’s armpits? It degrades them both, at a time a young man is most idealistic and most amenable to the demands of nobility.
Let’s understand why God made young men the way He did and instead of appealing to the basest use of those characteristics, let’s direct them to God’s glory. It’ll draw men all by itself.