This year’s theme is “The Life.” Today we explore the theme with….
The Life of a holy disturbed student
Alex Lockridge started a wonderful journey as the student minister at Corbin FBC beginning in November of 2012. His greatest prayer is that each student would fully discover and live into the person God created them to be. With a desire to spend every day immersed in reading, he has found that his children, Kayden and Kinley, are a more than welcomed distraction. Married to Maria for over 9 years, he can’t imagine a more perfect life partner and mother to Kayden. Behind enemy lines, he has been a loud (and obnoxious) advocate for his beloved Tennessee Volunteers.
I have a student who is a senior this year. She is very mature for her age and is culturally aware, more than any student I’ve ever known. She has a strong heart for social justice and voice that she does not yet know how to use. It is truly a blessing to be her youth minister.
Like most of the rural south, we live in a very “red” town. Within our church, I can count all the Democrats using only my fingers and toes. Those who align with Democrat ideals are strangers, foreigners in this community and even in our church. I pride myself on doing my ministry without showing any leaning to one side or the other. I aim for the middle, the gray. The apostle Paul became like those under the law to win those under the law and like those not under the law to win those not under the law. I also know how to become like a republican or a democrat, all without sacrificing integrity or anything I firmly stand for.
Back to this student. She recently reached out to me because she was so troubled by the events in Charlottesville and in many of the words and tweets President Trump has shared. In her venting, she shared that is troubled by the way he addresses “the news.” She pointed out that “even Fox News” was calling him out over some of what he said, to which I chuckled. She believed he was too soft in his wording about the white supremacists and nationalists. She then said, 8 months into his presidency, “I honestly cannot believe that he is the president.”
After listening a little while longer it become clear that the church and her community (school, family, etc.) sold her a bill of goods, and, unfortunately, I probably contributed to that. She isn’t old enough, shaped enough by other stronger voices, to just be democrat for democrat’s sake. She isn’t so set in her ways that she dislikes all things republican simply because they are republican. She was holy disturbed after the events in Charlottesville because she realized evil exists in this world in a manner significantly stronger than the church or her community ever allowed her to believe. She was also holy disturbed because she quickly found out that God put a strong passion for social justice within her and she didn’t know how to harness it.
It’s difficult speaking to these issues to a group mostly consisting of students who don’t care one way or the other, but also, who know which way they are supposed to lean, as directed by their parents. It is challenging to delve into specifics when you know you must be a unifying voice in a politically divisive time. Even with these challenges, I am a thankful and elated that I have students who are this moved within their souls about current events. I’m thankful that even though I didn’t prepare my students for this kind of evil, they realize it and feel led to combat it. That’s the work of God, not me. That’s a holy disturbance.
This particular student, of whom this blog is all about, found and is still finding a sense of peace, a sense of calling, and an urge to do more about social and racial injustice. She is realizing that all the unpleasant feelings that Charlottesville conjured up for her was just the working of the Spirit. She is acknowledging that she has a voice, and that her voice can be used to help the voiceless.
I hope this blog helps to encourage you when news as terrible as KKK and Neo-Nazi rallies causes your students to question life, faith, and morality. I hope you find comfort in knowing that God is at work in your students in ways you’ll never know or understand. I hope you find the voice necessary to speak out in divisive times. Keep up the good work.