BACK TO SCHOOL (cont’d): Especially for College Students

The college years often play a pivotal role in faith development. Some young adults are given a faith that “works” well for them when they leave home and enter university.
Others discover they can’t in good conscience make the faith they inherited their own – they face realities of science, history, psychology, philosophy, or even their own psyche that can’t coexist honestly with their inherited faith. Some who find themselves in that situation simply put faith aside entirely. Others have to go through a painful but essential and tremendously creative process of adapting their inherited faith (instead of adopting it without adaptations). I’m always glad to hear when my books help young adults do the latter.
Many of us have wondered how to facilitate that process of helping young adults adapt their inherited faith so they can have a faith they truly and wholeheartedly celebrate. And we’ve wondered how to teach the faith to children in such a way that it will support rather than hinder their intellectual, interpersonal, ethical, and personal growth later on … which is why I’m enthusiastic about the event that just was announced last week.
Here’s a note from a recent college graduate …

A reader writes …

I wanted to follow up after speaking with you about 3 weeks ago when you spoke at CRCC. I recently graduated from [an Evangelical Christian university] with a degree in XXX & just in the last few months came out [as gay] to my parents.
Thank you so much for the deep compassion and love you demonstrated in speaking with me & introducing me to others at your church. Your kindness is greatly appreciated!!!! I also wanted to again thank you for boldness in writing your books. I know that you have dealt with a lot of condemnation & I’m sure lots of misunderstanding critics. Thank you for putting up with that in order to reach those of us who have desperately needed to hear from you. In particular, I wanted to tell you about 2 stories that have touched me & have caused me to think & understand Jesus & the world differently.
I believe it was in The Secret Message of Jesus that you describe the gospel metaphorically through the story of a kingdom overtaken by an evil empire of sorts…the King is overthrown & he becomes a beggar in order to demonstrate his love toward his subjects. It would take pages for me to describe to you the experience that resulted from my reading of this story. It changed me more than any other version of the gospel I’ve ever read & allowed me to finally let go of my hatred for God & begin to actually love him. Thank you for sharing this story!!!
The second story that I have loved is the one about Tony Campolo throwing a party for a prostitute at 3am in a donut shop. For much of my life I have struggled to overcome the belief that humans are inherently evil & always set on hurting others…this story helped me to believe in the powerful mystery of God working through his followers to create life & love rather than destruction.
I hope that God continues to strengthen you (physically & in every other way!) to continue listening to his gentle voice & following him.

Thanks for the note. It was a real pleasure to meet you. I hope our paths cross again soon.