Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Fault in Our . . .

Gloom, despair, and agony on meDeep, dark depression, excessive miseryIf it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at allGloom, despair, and agony on me

You don’t have to look far to realize we live in a dark, depressing, hopeless culture. I just thought the 70s were bad! Some of us remember what it was like to live with the following possible fates hanging over our heads:

Being drafted and sent to Vietnam
Local race riot burns half the city
Local war protest leads to death of young protesters
Make love, not war and God is Dead!
One button push away from mutual nuclear annihilation
Waters so polluted that dead fish are washing up on the lake shore
A president who has to resign after claiming “I am not a crook!”

I could go on, but you get the point. Many people think things are really bad right now. I get so depressed just trying to watch any news feed whether on television or on the internet. Our country is bereft of hope!

This is where we as Christian authors can make a difference. I just finished reading “The Fault In Our Stars”. My 27 year old daughter who battles epilepsy doesn’t read books. But, she picked up this book and read it from cover to cover and then took her mother to see the movie. She asked that I read the book.

It is well written, fast flowing, and character driven. Perhaps you have read it. If you haven’t, and you are interested in reaching the “millennial” generation then you have to read this book. It is filled with angst, sarcasm, narcissism, brutal honesty, doubts galore about God and fate and destiny, and is just downright depressing. The ending is ultimately, sort of, redemptive.

I remember watching “Love Story” along with millions of other Americans who stood in line to see a movie that changed the face of American cinema. Everyone scratched their heads when they heard the phrase, “Love means never having to say your sorry.” (I love Ryan O’Neal’s reply to Barbra Streisand in the comedy ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ when she quoted this phrase to him in the final airplane scene. O’Neal said, ‘That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard’.) It was the “Fault” of its day. No one today remembers it!

Perhaps we will all be quoting lines such as “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” or “Maybe 'okay' will be our 'always”. What the book offers to our young generation is an affirmation of their current state of existence. I attended Hutchmoot 2012, a Christian artist gathering in September, 2012. Out of the 180 attendees I was probably one out of the only 5 people attending over the age of 32. I sat in a room filled with over 60 young adults listening to Jason Gray and Eric Peters talking about “Recovery Through Song”: their journey out of depression through their music. I was stunned when almost every young adult in the room raised their hand to affirm they were depressed! In my Bible study group, there are several couples like us who have children in the twenties. Everyone one of us has a child who is battling depression!

I don’t have time or space to go into the reasons this generation is so depressed. (I do cover that in my upcoming book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” coming out from B&H Publishing in September).

Last night, I talked to my daughter who is struggling with depression. How does she cope? With creativity. She draws and illustrates. This is her escape and her therapy. I have fought depression since my teenage years and my escape is through writing.

Here is my plea to those of us who are blessed enough to have a platform with our books. We need to write works that speak to this generation of young adults who are trying desperately to exist in a postmodern, relativistic, Godless society. We can be the voice or real encouragement and hope. We can offer encouraging books with our own promise of a God who became flesh and walked among us. The message, the Good News, of Christ is transformative and has been lost in the cacophony of works trying to find a way to instill hope in this generation. “The Fault In Our Stars” tries; it really tries. But it also defaults to a typical position that says there may or may not be a God BUT the “universe” is trying to speak to us and help us through this mess.

One thing the book did get right. Love is the key to overcoming most of our problems. Love for each other. Love for our enemies. Love for God. Love for our sister or our brother. We need the world to know and to see through our stories that this idea originated with Christ. It is not an old story that has been forgotten. It is a story for us today — Good News that the Kingdom is at hand and we can be a part of the Kingdom of God. NOT the kingdom of nihilism.

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