I just read an interesting article about things Christian teens from around the globe have done for Lent. I read many traditional fasting, giving up sweets, no video game comments. A few “gave up my bed” entries that made me smile. But, one in particular caught my eye. One young man gave up forks and spoons in favor of chopsticks. Are you as puzzled as I was at first? I did not see the particular connection to Lent or God in this choice. In reading on, I saw a beautiful connection.
As can be expected, he was not very adept at using chopsticks at first. This made for many struggles and mounds of laughter with friends. There is the key. This was his way of opening up the conversation about God with his friends. He was able to discuss Lent, to teach others about Lent, in a non-threatening way. What a wonderful idea!
Two little chopsticks brought so much, like:
- a new discipline during the season of Lent
- development of a skill that may come in handy for business meetings someday
- enjoyable, fun-filled time with friends
- teachable moments about God, Lent, the art of chopsticks, the 5-second rule (you know you’re going to drop something), dedication, and renewal
- a comfortable space for a teenager to talk to his friends about faith
How cool is this?!
As teens, we may have had those uncomfortable moments where church-life intersected with friend-life (gasp!). It’s not always easy, especially now, to be a Christian teen and be comfortable enough to talk about it openly with friends. There are so many un-churched youth today. Some have never had the opportunities, some have been scared away for various reasons. Many are longing for a connection of some sort and don’t know that church may be just the place to find it. How does a teen start that conversation and still be “cool?” How does anyone? Evangelism is not easy for everyone.
This young man found a way to make it easier. There’s no pressure to start talking about God, seemingly out of nowhere. There’s no finger-pointing at his friends. No one needs to feel like they’re in need of saving or forgiveness or prayer or redemption or fixing. It’s not about making someone else feel like they’re “less-than” for having different faith beliefs. Friends can laugh about his inability to use chopsticks, and as he continues to struggle and try and refuses to give up, his friends get to see how wonderfully powerful faith can be.
What will your chopsticks be? What can you use to start that conversation?
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