I am privileged to meet fortnightly with a bunch of nine young men in our church. They are all in high school, and thus range in age between 13 and 18. With the exception of two, these young men are all home schooled. Part of my motivation in arranging to meet with them is to augment their debating skills as they partake in group discussion. Of course, they acquire and hone these skills when they meet in the YP setting and the Family Bible Hour class for their age bracket. But, since both their YP group and their FBH class involve young ladies, it is good for them to meet as a homogenous group of young men, and focus on things that are pertinent specifically to guys.
When we meet, we limit our meetings to a brief ninety minutes or so. In this time we are able to enjoy a meal together, which they take turns arranging. Once the tummies are full, it’s over to discussion. So far this year we have examined and debated the difference between being centred in our worldview on man versus having God at the centre of our thinking. This debate was given some shape over five sessions as we considered how to describe man and his abilities (or more correctly, his spiritual inabilities) from God’s perspective.
Then we looked at the whole notion of initiative for rescue as we contemplated the net result of human effort.
Part three of our discussion focused on God’s success rate in His rescue effort.
Part four revolved around man’s willingness to be party to God’s scheme
Finally, we considered the outcome of this interaction between God and man.
That five-part discussion served two purposes: It helped define our terms of reference, since people often misunderstand each other when they speak from radically divergent presuppositions; and also encouraged each of the guys in the group to find his tongue and articulate his own perspective. Masculinity must find expression in participation!
With that groundwork in place, our most recent meeting revolved around the very provocative topic of electronic distraction. For me and for the young men in the group it was both fascinating and shocking to recognise our tendency towards and temptation to be distracted by cell phones and computer screens.
We were able to discuss the tragic reality of shrinking concentration spans and a decreased ability to sustain a thought for any productive length of time. These realities led understandably to the discussion of workable strategies to help minimise and even remediate the negative effects of such electronic distraction.
Without exception the guys admitted the need for parents and children to co-operate and hold one another accountable in the family setting. These distractions show no favouritism based on age. Often children are led into the morass of distracted living by their parents’ addictions to electronics and social media.
We all agreed that much prayerful consideration of the topic was called for. I would ask for your prayers for these young men. The group goes under the name “Young Guns.” These years of secondary schooling represent a vital stage of character development. God has been kind to us at BBC. We have so many opportunities to be exposed to revealed truth. The challenge for us all seems to lie in processing all that we see in and hear from God’s world into a coherent set of Biblical convictions that fuel our behaviour, and our aspirations, as believers. Revelation leading to insight leading to appetite and personal discipline is an exciting (and frightening) process indeed! How we depend upon the transforming power of the Spirit!