Thursday, May 9, 2013

Unicorn Poop Christianity

Getting to know God through a 7th grader eyes is a holiday of wonder. This year I served in our church's Jr. High. That first night, the sweet, church raised girls had their minds blown. Nothing was off topic. Farts, boobs, butts, boys and theology were on the table.

One night in talking about all things relevant to Jr. Highers we talked about Unicorn Poop cookies. I promised to bring them one night. Little did I know it would prove to be a marker of sanity for me.

The series for the year was an overview of the Biblical Narrative. Sunday morning was the formal teaching and Wednesday night we discussed. Most of the stories they knew from Sunday School. What was most amazing though was how little truth they understood. Discussion questions measured out as we sat together each Wednesday.

The discussion would begin with glib answers.  Quickly these were labeled "Sunday School" answers. The girls were allowed to share only one Sunday School answer, then they had to come up with a real one. Quickly it became a contest of who could say the cheesiest one. After great laughter, we would begin to discuss the reality. What does "A man after God's own heart" mean? What is sin? Does God hate us? Why did Jesus come? Was Bathsheba an immoral woman for that bath? Did Sampson have dreadlocks?

 This is where things became REALLY interesting. These girls, who had grown up in church, didn't understand what sin was. They just knew it was bad. The topic of temptation was a brain cramp. The concept of the Triune God, they had no clue. In our final weeks' discussion of what the Gospel/Good News really was, the faces were blank. What does eternal life mean? Why did Jesus really die? Who do we share Jesus with if we are supposed to only have Christian friends? How do I deal with a Christian girl who is really a bully? She's my friend, but...

One of my rules was: If we can't talk about it at church, we shouldn't talk about it all. We shared stories of my bizarre boys, anime and what inappropriate really was. Through the vault of truth, their faith was being formed. The flame of Holy Spirit's gift was growing. These girls began walking away from Cultural Christianity and into a budding relationship with a loving Savior. They realized that Holy Spirit lives within them and talks to them through the still small voice, scripture and situations. They stood up to bullies at school. Relationships at home took on a whole new understanding. Salvation became real. A sisterhood formed.

Last night was Leader Appreciation Night. All day my skin crawled with anxiety. I didn't understand or agree with making "leaders" accept forced accolades. With the tray full of the magical Unicorn Poop cookies in tow, I endured the games to win a prize for the leader. We giggled as the girls tried to remember "The Main Idea" from the year's sermons. They didn't win the "prize." All were dismissed for the last 30 minutes for freedom with the leader. The carefully guarded Unicorn Poop was taken to our group spot which happened to be in a popular area. All grabbed the glittery, shiny poop and began to share.

I began with my best bar voice to tell each one what I loved about them. Their spiritual intuition, teachability, humility, love for others and grace. When I was done, to my surprise, the girls wanted a turn to share what they liked about each other. The room full of vulturing 8th grade boys vying for video games and girls' attention, each one graciously loved on each other. Uniqueness was celebrated. My closing comments to them were :
I want you to walk away from this year with these truths;
Seek out scripture for yourself, don't simply accept what is taught from the front of the room.
Don't just become "Christian" friends but be friends who encourage one another in Christ.

In the middle of a game playing chaotic Jr. High room, they cheerleader shouted, "AMEN!"

I looked at what unified us throughout the year. Unicorn Poop. The magical, mysterious and mythological Sunday School stories were formed into a truth that was real and very delicious. That was all the appreciation this servant needed.

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