Friday, May 11, 2007

Stories Like That....

In the chorus of the song, Boy Like Me / Man Like You, Rich Mullins asks Jesus what it was like when He was growing up. He asks,

And did they tell You stories 'bout the saints of old?
Stories about their faith?
They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
Stories like that make a man walk straight.

A couple of weeks ago, we received an email from the manager of a radio station that runs our Jesus Freaks radio program, indicating that he has received a complaint from a listener that the program was too graphic. This was the first time that we had received such a concern about this program. We have received similar complaints about our videos and newsletter articles from time to time, but never about our radio programs. These complaints always amaze me, to be honest, because I know how hard we work to be fair and honest in our reporting without being exploitative.

But I wonder why it is that we have become so sensitive in the late 20th and early 21st century? I read some of the classic historical books that recount the stories of faith from previous centuries (books like John Foxe's Book of Martyrs and Martyrs Mirror) and I am stuck by how graphic they are in their description of what our brothers and sisters went through. And yet, previous generations of believers did not hide these things from the public, not even from their children. Indeed, they read these books to their children in the hope that they would grow up to be bold in their faith just like those who had gone before them. They recognized the importance of models of faith. They knew that stories like that make a boy grow bold, stories like that make a man walk straight.

But no, we shield our children from such stories and then wonder why they cannot stand up to peer pressure. We say, "These stories are too depressing" and then watch as our children throw out their faith the first time that tragedy strikes their life. We are raising a generation who thinks that God is obligated to protect us from harm all of the time and that suffering is the exception to the rule. We are raising a self-centred generation who believe that they had a right to personal peace and affluence. We forget that the Christian is called to sacrifice for others so that they will have life. We are called to suffer so that others will prosper. The martyrs teach us this.

1 comment:

terri said...

Perhaps, it is the disconnection that children have with the basic facts of life. They don't raise animals for food, having to take part in the killing and cleaning of it. Parents pretend that the dog went off to a farm instead of telling the child that he was old, sick and it was his time to go.

By keeping people in a cocoon about the realities of a very lost, wicked world, we shoot ourselves in the foot, theologically speaking. Who needs salvation, protection, and comfort when we close our eyes to the truth of the suffering and pain that is rooted in human existence.

People need to know what is really happening. Turning away is like turning your back on the suffering Christians around the world. We owe it to them to listen to their stories.