“God’s reckless grace is our greatest hope…” —Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God
When my son graduated from college, this was the only shot I got of him as he walked past me in the aisle of a worn-out movie theater. I look at that image and find it to be nearly prophetic. A graduation gown, one slim leg of his khaki pants, and a Vans sneaker. Vestiges of a young boy moving on, all wrapped up in a grown-man’s garment, with no clear indication of what may be on the horizon.
The only thing that’s really clear is that he’s moving on.
Research tells us 59% of 18-29 year-olds raised in church are leaving the church and not looking back. When I first heard that statistic, I reasoned there must be more than a few parents of those 18-29 years-olds (the generation dubbed millennials or mosaics) who wonder what all this means. So, I wrote a little bit about what it’s like to try and field the questions people ask about my son (who doesn’t go to church) and the questions people don’t ask about my daughter (who is very involved in the church).
Turns out, I was right. There are a lot of us; parents whose children have walked away from church, and sometimes from God, too. I read your comments, and your Facebook messages and emails to me, and I wondered if you’d be okay with talking about this one more time?
Kim left me this comment the other day:
[I] wonder if we’re too quick to smack the label “prodigal” on people. My adult children have challenged and clarified my faith like no one else. Maybe that’s part of their job . . . to help us discern between our “sacred cows” and the real truths of our faith.
And Timothy Keller reminds me what the word “prodigal” really means:
Timothy Keller tells me God is really the best and true prodigal. Recklessly extravagant, He gave us everything. He spent it all. Right down to the gift of His only Son. For me, and for you, and for all of our children, and for our children’s children.
God doesn’t look at me and call me His wayward child. He doesn’t assign me to a category. He doesn’t put conditions on His love for me. God doesn’t tell me I can come back when I get my act together and have learned to treat Him with respect.
All that reckless spending of His makes me wonder if I could be that kind of prodigal? What if I could strip away the labels and the conditions, and give it all away? What if I could freely give away all kinds of crazy grace, just like our extravagantly spendthrift and incredibly loving God?Leave a Comment