By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:7)
One has to wonder what it is that would make two young men, one still in his teens, decide to murder as many people as they could. And do so in as horrific and terrifying a way as possible. What would compel someone so few in years to want to end as many lives of people they never knew? Committing acts with bombs, bullets and a blood thirsty vampirism in nature.
What defines this act as terrorism is the idealism on which the act is based. It is an idealism that moves beyond a certain religion or ethnicity or geography or age. The idealism is that whatever we do not appreciate or understand we then destroy. Obliteration of whatever it is in place of seeking a commonality with it. I think that is the most intellectually dishonest genre of reasoning. If reasoning it be. And of course there are explosions yet to come. Many of our young people are prime for this kind of behavior.
Now more than ever before we see the results of fatherless homes and single parent households, we see clearly how the increasing number of Black men going to prison is allowing their children to be socialized by those who want to make them a weapon and not a mind. Our children are angry with school, with each other and most certainly with adults. Adults who seem to always have a criticism, but never an encouragement; we never want to show them love. It is the primary reason gangs recruit so success-fully. They show their gang members love, protect them and put money in their pockets.
The same is true of those who would radicalize our children. They show them what they have not gotten from their blood families and offer them a new family; they tell them of their belief in them and what gifts God has given them and those gifts will help change the world, they never hesitate to show our children love; allow them to demonstrate their idealism about religion and seek their involvement strategic planning.
Ask yourself when was the last time your church did the same and if your church gives children attention even when it’s not Youth Sunday? How often are the children consulted about church activities including those they are not just for them? How many in your church are training for deaconship or ushering or evangelism or even in the pulpit?
If your church is doing so, it is in the minority because most churches act as if Christ only came for adults. This generation in particular has been given gifts and talents like no generation before it. The reason for this is they have a mission no other church generation has ever had but the church is losing them to other religions and philosophies because the church as a whole does not demonstrate to our children that they are important. If we did, we would have a new radicalism ourselves.
I believe true churches are the answer and a new church philosophy regarding our youth is in order. If we are going to keep them, we have to show them we love them. And we do that not by adopting their music or wearing their clothes or trying to fit in with them. We do it as Christ did it. By showing them we love them.
If we keep doing what we have been doing, at least as we have done it in the last few years, we will continue to lose our young people. When they leave their parent’s homes, they will leave their home church. And when we see them again, it will be on the news. We will be wondering how they could have done what they did and what made them do it. The answer to those questions are we did, we didn’t see them changing because we weren’t looking. We didn’t hear them because we were too busy listening to ourselves.
There is no longer a rumor of war, the war is here. The fight is for our children.