I was excited and felt privileged to attend to a HSC drama performance dress rehearsal this year. It had been a challenging day with a few things that had, let’s say, “pushed my happiness scale,” but was looking forward to seeing some talented year 12 students perform their monologue and group pieces before they actually perform them for their HSC in a few weeks. While their talent was outstanding, I walked out of the theatre feeling more depressed and lacking a sense of HOPE. I have always believed (and still do) that the “creative arts” is a powerful medium to not only communicate the issues of our current culture but to also bring a voice into society in ways that other mediums can’t.
And while I know this was only a small cross section of pieces from one school, but it saddened me to think this even “might” be an accurate reflection of what our young people feel and believe as they venture into society as the next generation to bring about change.
Throughout the night the dramas and monologues sought to address deep issues of misogyny, abuse, marriage, motherhood, identity, politics, good and evil, drugs and sex. There was a lot of swearing, anger, laughter and vulgarity but no real HOPE or answers. It just left the audience with many questions. There was not ONE POSITIVE portrayal of marriage, relationships, government, youth or parenting and certainly nothing positive about God. I felt deeply disturbed as I left the theatre and still do today as I process my thoughts of why all I want to do right now is eat a kilo of chocolate and chips and cry.
The irony of it is that many of these students would possibly feel I was crazy to believe in God and the HOPE He brings to my life, much less the joy I feel when I join with others in community and worship Him. But I can honestly say I that can’t remember ever walking out of a gathering of Christians, be it Sunday or otherwise, and feeling as dirty and hopeless as I did last night.
It really does prove that what we allow into our Psyche can affect us. Moreover, what we focus on or listen to creates a platform whereby it can effect what we believe or the choices we might make. I believe that is why God says it is important to be in the world and yet not of the world, because the world we are OF will influence who we become.
There are so many directions I could go from this point on. The questions fly around in my head as I ponder the issues last night has brought up for me.
Q: Who are our young people listening to?
Q: How important are the voices of older generations, those who have walked the road before, as our young people open up these issues?
Q: When we live in a post modern world where truth is relative, it is natural that these deep issues are expressed with no answers or real HOPE. The question is how can they be ok with that?
Q: How much do our young people need to expose themselves to this before they get pulled down into an abyss of anger and depression?
Q: How much do we protect and guide our young people without “cotton wooling” them into not being able to have an answer when these issues come flying into their face?
Q: Where are the role models of a BIGGER, healthier Hopeful story and why do we not see more of this in the Christian community as a light to the world?
But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
So with gentleness and respect and a heavy heart for the world I am in but not OF … I can only pray the words of one greater than all that I don’t understand. I know His response would be ...Where there is NO HOPE and only questions, He says
I am the way the truth and the life (John 14:6)
I am light of the world (John 8:12)
I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13: 5)
I have come to set you free, by giving my only son to pay the price of all sin (John 3:16)
I have come to bring life and life to the full (John 10:10)
I made you with a purpose, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)
You are beautifully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing (Matthew 23:37)
There is hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began. (Titus 1:2)
But, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.