This morning, I noticed that someone tweeted out a picture and short video of some kids attending the “See You At The Pole” gathering in Little Chute on the campus of my local High School/Middle School. It honestly warmed my heart a great deal to see these kids gather together to sing a little and pray for their classmates, teachers, community and world. I was in youth ministry for 25 years and still have a huge heart for young people. In fact, I feel very connected to this particular event because a group of co-youth ministers and I were the ones to encourage and promote (locally) it when it first started.
This event was born, maybe 15-20 years ago, out of a group of high school kids in Texas who basically wanted to pray for their classmates.Today, kids from all over the country commemorate this initial gathering by getting together at their own schools on a specific Tuesday morning (today) in September. It was (and still kind of, is) a truly organic and spiritually honest gesture. However, adults have gotten involved over the last several years, so it’s gotten a little more “corporate” I can prove that because now, you can buy a T-Shirt for it.
As I remember the story, these kids in Texas were tired of faking it in regard to their faith. They were also tired of being attached to a brand of Christianity that was based on words and not much action. They decided, on their own, to gather together at the flagpole of their school and pray, because they cared about the people around them. From what I remember, they had no other agenda. I think seeing that picture this morning reminded me of how much I like agenda-less Christianity.
When I say “agenda-less Christianity” I probably should qualify it a little. I don’t at all mean a Christianity without the agenda of Jesus… that would amount to a weak, ineffective and spiritually impotent social club. What I’m talking about is the stuff we gather around (other flagpoles) that are just not critical to our mission of loving, giving and serving. The small group of kids who got together this morning represented several different churches and student ministries, so no one group can “claim” this thing and therefore, dominate or control it’s purpose. That’s a pretty healthy trait, right from the get-go. I think that this also lends itself to being a lot less influenced spiritual/Christian special interest groups.
I am only guessing, but I bet no kid there prayed against the “godless Obama administration” or against the “secularly humanistic Democratic agenda” or prayed that “God would send his judgement to the gay community”. No… I bet those kids prayed for the girls from Little Chute that were in a car accident yesterday. That’s because when you’re that age, friendships and relationships really, really matter. I’m just speculating here, but it’s probably fair to say that someone probably prayed that they’d be a better human representation of Jesus to others. I know that, because in their culture, being inauthentic is just pathetic. I don’t think it would be a stretch to imagine that one of those kids prayed for their teachers, even if some of them might not be “Christian”, because God knows, their generation has a severe lack of honest and caring mentors in their lives. This may sound like a real zinger for some of you, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that somewhere, someone even prayed for President Obama… without any guile.
I miss it. I miss getting together with a spiritual community that can pray and sing without having to internally monitor each others behavior. I miss being around people who are known for what they are for, not against. I hope, for my own soul, that I can finish my days gathering around a flagpole that only has a Jesus banner on it. I hope I can remain more like my young friends and not be encumbered with the things that seem so important, but in the end, alienate me from others. You know, like the ones that sin worse than me or have “shaky” doctrine or might be politcally misguided. Ugh.
God bless you, who got together this morning… I hope you remain forever young.