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Reaching Gen-z

So some life updates, we are almost done with the school year! June 16 is when school is finally out and actually the day I fly home to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

On June 25 at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in PA, I would like to invite everyone to a light Luncheon at 12:00 pm. I will share an update about the mission work being done in the Bahamas. I am excited to see you all in person soon and share about all the incredible experiences I have had here in the Bahamas this year.

Ok, so it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on here and sending out any updates. Life these past two months have been a blast, but also really eye opening to me about Christianity. How you may ask? Well I guess the best way to figure that out is to just keep reading…. 😉

I love music and constantly listening to something whether it’s running to the grocery store, five minutes away or doing work late into the night. I find, though, every few years music as a whole has a similar theme to it of displaying the heart and feelings of a certain generation. As a person at the beginning of Generation Z and the end of the Millennials, I want to talk about the heart posture people of my generation have towards the church and use some songs that will help explain the pain I think G-Z and Millennials have nowadays.

The words “Christian”, “Jesus”, “Faith,” and so many other “religious” words, I feel get a really bad rap nowadays, and honestly ... I get why. The church, while made of God’s followers, are broken people not immune to sin; falling short of displaying Christ-like love, constantly.

I was listening to a song recently while going on a run called “Minefield” by Nic D. While it is not a Christian song and he is singing about a break-up, he says some profound words that I feel grasp the feelings many, including myself, have about the church, religious organizations, and its people at times.

He says, “Talking to you is like walking through a minefield ….I’ve been overthinking about it, do you really love me? doubt it

guess there ain't no way around it

captured by grace, all the while you try to keep a straight face, looking at me sideways

hand on your bible, other on your rifle, got em both beside you, but that's for survival”

Reality is, walking through relationships with people in the church is like a minefield sometimes. All about church politics, trying to not step a toe out of line, and more about pleasing man than God. Not only do Christians sometimes abuse the grace God gives us, but we all can fail to share that grace with others. What do I mean by that? Christians start with the big presentation of your sins being forgiven, and we love you no matter what. That grace does capture people because we all seek forgiveness, and come running towards a new chance in life wanting to be accepted.

However I, like many others, have felt the hurt of being betrayed by fellow Christians. We all need to do better at walking with people through their sins. Someone once said to me, “Christians are more often the first to shoot their wounded.” Sadly, I think they are correct. Like Nic D says in his song, “hand on your bible, other on your rifle, got ' em both beside you, but that's for survival.” The young women he is singing about used the Bible more like a weapon rather than a tool of love. You can hear in his song the bitterness he holds about religion now.

Another song similar to Nic D that is the recent trending by Leah Marie Mason called, “Holy Water.” She is singing about a proclaimed Christian man who uses his Christianity abusively towards her causing her a lot of pain… Which often occurs nowadays with young Christian men and women in colleges all over America. Here are some of the Lyrics:.

he'll stab you in the back

without even second guessing

know its a lie before he says it

what a way to get to heaven

he's a snake with blue eyes

he acts like he's wise

put my hand on the bible oh I swear on my life

no the devil ain't in Georgia

he's here in Tennessee

he drives an F150

and takes his whiskey neat

hypocrite of his crucifix

& he's headed straight to hell for it

praying to the holy father

drown yourself in holy water

Her pain is evident. And I can relate to the depth of hurt knowing my own story and the hurts of many young men and women I have been friends with through Christian dating relationships.

Moving on, let’s look at another song by Ellee Duke called “Deeper.” This one honestly, makes me cry because I think this song hits the nail on the head. This young woman sings about the line most young people walk when it comes to Faith nowadays. She grew up in a religious home like most of you reading this newsletter. She went to church weekly and sang for the worship team. However, you can hear the burdens and shame she feels from the sins that haunt her. She doesn’t know how to talk about them and fears the reactions of her religious parents and even of the church. For example she says…

Why do you wanna know? I grew up in a religious home

And most of the things I've done, my parents don't even know

Been so depressed from all the shame

Livin' two lives with just one name

I sing in church, they say you convert the whole world

When you become a famous singer

Then I drink, and I smoked, and I lost my innocence

Before I had a ring in my finger

I used to wanna please you and show you I'm in love

But all I really want is to be loved

For the me you don't see 'cause I've hid her so well

But I just want you to know me deeper

I find myself at times, even as a missionary, living two lives with just one name. No matter how holy some people think I might be or spiritually mature, or wise. I’m still a sinful fool, bound to the curse set upon all of Man since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. I relate to a lot of the things this young woman spoke about in her song and the heart ache it can cause. Because like her chorus says, I too want to be known and known deeply, bearing all the shame and hurt of sins to others. The last place people want to go to is the church … I think we all need to sit back and ponder more why that is the case. As Christians we aren't called to condemn sins and pass judgment, that’s not our job. As saving the whole world and fixing all its problems isn’t our job. But we do it anyway, don’t we….. All I have learned at this point is that no matter how great another's sins are, I am no better than them.

We are all Barabbas. The ones rightfully meant for the cross. Instead we traded innocent blood for our selfish sins. As people of God we can’t forget we were meant to walk up Calvary hill baring that cross with 39 lashes upon our own skin, being rightfully mocked and scorned. It’s something I often need to remind myself of whenever I start comparing my life to another and getting angry at others' choices that have caused hurt.

Check out the song “I am Barabbas” by Josiah Queen.

It’s not supposed to be this way, Christians aren’t supposed to be the ones using the Bible as a weapon, their “faith” to hurt others in relationships, especially those of dating relationships. We shouldn't have so much quarrel amongst ourselves. We are meant for unity and love that passionately changes lives.

Wow, that felt like a lot to share. However, these past two months working with teenagers, adults my age, and speaking with friends from home has really brought the matter more to light. My mom reminded me of a song by Jars of Clay: They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love. Its lyrics remind us to “guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride,” our work and walk beside others is our ministry. People remember how we make them feel about themselves, their past and future. I guess I am just hoping to advocate for my generation and encourage others to ponder more why this is the case with Gen-Z and Millennials and fight to amend the bond torn by pride.

Prayer Request:

  1. Ending the school year well

  2. Relationship Building

  3. My 5th grade students as they move on to 6th grade next year

  4. Summer mission trips

  5. My time spent at home this summer

Mission Team From Pittsburgh University : D1 athletes from Pitt University came for a week in May to help with re-roofing a Library to create into a community center, repainted a families home, and do some sports activities with the kids on the island!

Fun in the Classroom: Had a special visitor for science project day, Mr. Turtle. Recently, students have been learning about energy and created Newton's Cradles. Plus, continue to do morning games to work on critical thinking skills and creating fellowship with classroom peers.

Beauty of Abaco, Bahamas

Girls Small Group & Leadership G2 : Had a fun night in April painting mugs and playing a skit game with my G2 high-school girls. Also, excited to announce our G2 Leadership group nights are beginning again every other Monday night.

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