I was reading an article called “Lost In Transition” in Christianity today and was struck by a quote at the beginning. “When there is no authority in religion or in politics, men are soon frightened by the limitless independence with which they are faced. They are worries and worn out by the constant restlessness of everything.” – Alexis de Tocqueville.
The article is all about “emerging adulthood” and how young adults view religion. It’s interesting, though nothing that’s shocking if you’ve read much in the field. It’s worth a read though – http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/october/21.34.html
I love de Tocqueville’s quote, and I think spending some time pondering it is worth as much as reading the article. I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with the seemingly limitless opportunity that we have and what feels like an increasingly fluid view of career and family life. I know many young adults who come to one of many crossroad and simply feel like they don’t know what they should do – there are too many good options. Especially in Christian circles, the idea of the will of God is both an exciting and scary thing as it’s commonly thought of – exciting that God has a plan, but scary because we’re always afraid we’re going to miss it or we don’t know how to find it.
There’s this strange balance in my life of consistency or pattern, and spontaneity and the unexpected. I think there needs to be both in all of our lives. As technology expands, everything is becoming easier. It’s easier to find the right information, to talk to someone on the other side of the world, to have all of our lives turned around in a matter of days.
I think we need to come to terms with the constant restlessness of the culture around us. Discipline and consistency are needed if we are to be not constantly worn out by the world. I sometimes fight repetitiveness and pattern, especially as I plan worship services, but I think sometimes it’s exactly what we need. We can’t put God in a box, but in certain seasons it’s a great reminder that we serve a God who never changes, unlike the world around us.
“When there is no authority in religion or in politics, men are soon frightened by the limitless independence with which they are faced. They are worries and worn out by the constant restlessness of everything.” – Alexis de Tocqueville.