Friday, November 26, 2010

The missing generations...

Good morning God,

'I get it'
 I get why so many young people are turning their back on the Church, I get why so many young people feel disenfranchised and disillusioned and - lets be honest disgusted.
As they should be. It is disgusting, despicable and undemocratic for children as young as ten to have been corralled and kettled, charged upon and in some instances even beaten like criminals for daring to have an opinion and being willing to use their democratic right to protest. All whilst the Church was busy preparing for Advent.. or engrossed in a debate about 'Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2010'

I get it God
I get why young people think we are so outdated and irrelevant, after all, where were we when we were needed ? Did the city centre Churches stand in solidarity with the young people? Did they help by  providing blankets against the cold, refreshments against the hunger, basic first aid, support, encouragement.. Did we - as Church - shout with them, protest the appalling conditions that they were forced to endure for daring to speak against the government?

Could the Churches have responded - and shown that they too believe in a future based on meritocracy not inherited wealth, where all have an equal right to the best education that they can aspire to based on their ability not on their parent's status? Didn't the Church have a duty to stand with them and denounced the way in which the hopes and the dreams of so many of the nation's children were being dashed under the hoofs of the horses ridden against them and beaten out of them by the truncheons of those they are supposed to be able to consider the guardians of justice and peace!  Should not the Church have protested - really protested - such violence and abuse of our young people?
Or do we simply mutter 'suffer little children' at baptisms? Yesterday was certainly a baptism of fire for many young people who had their first taste of so-called democracy, and discovered it to be bitter indeed.

But did the Church offer anything sweeter?

I get it - we flunked again.

Once again we demonstrated that what matters to young people, doesn't quite matter enough to us to get involved, to make our own concerted protest on their behalf. What matters to young people doesn't quite excite us enough to dream with them for a fairer future for them - after all - we wont be here to enjoy it. The Church is clearly too busy with ecclesiology and liturgy to get too involved with reality. How can any young person see anything other than betrayal in this - the Church's apathy concerning their highest aspirations? Is it any wonder that another generation is slowly but surely being added to those missing from the Church?

Is it too cynical of me to suggest that the Church's apathy concerning education might just have something to do with the fact that it is easier to peddle the gospel amongst the poor, uneducated and uninspired of the world...?

As the Church prepares for the coming of Christ as an infant, as it gets itself embroiled once again in whether these are the 'winter holidays' or a Christian festival, as it fights its campaigns for Jesus as the reason for the season.. my prayer God is that it also remembers that what matters to Jesus is not His name, but what is done in his name... for the sake of the Children everywhere - including those who hope to go to university one day, who dream of being the first in their family to have a masters degree, or even a doctorate. Children who want the chance to discover who they can be, and what it is that they could do if they were no longer defined and penalized by the class-ridden stereotypical expectations and limitations implicit in this government's educational policies.

Please God, help us.
Let the Church's Advent sermons cry out to you God, as the God of Justice, for you to inspire us to participate in making way for the future you dream for us, instead of simply expecting our Children to make it for us.


  1. Nor has the church spoken up against the government message that says that most students can have higher education even though our society does not have jobs for their raised expectations.

    Nor has the church spoken up to say that selfishness is wrong and people should look very closely at their motives before protesting about an issue where they have a very strong self interest.

    I believe access to higher education should be based on academic merit rather than wealth. I also believe that if less students were encouraged to go into higher education, the universities would not have their current funding problems (but would have different ones).
    I also think that pushing young people into higher education because there are not enough jobs for them (and to keep them off the dole) is a very short term fix, which will come back to bite the government (and now is beginning to).

  2. Anonymous,
    thank you for your post.
    The Church would be unlikely to speak out against higher education as it is for the advancement of humanity - which takes education.

    Neither would the Church speak out against democratic protest against a blatant injustice. Is this issue about injustice? .. Well just because the young people stand to gain the same right to university education that those currently acting to prevent it had, does not make it selfish. I believe it is unjust to effectively reserve education for those who can afford to pay for it - now and later. Moreover, the country needs a more educated populace for its future welfare and economic stability. Education benefits EVERYONE..

    Except of course, those who believe we must grow a working class to provide our cannon fodder..which seems to be your main point.

    I would love for access to higher education to be based on academic merit - so let's do away with all private schools and private tuition for grammar school entrance.. Let the state provide high quality primary and secondary education for EVERYONE and then what we desire might be possible!

    I dont believe that giving people the opportunity to better themselves through education can be seen as pushing them into higher education and off the dole.

    The sickness at the root of this is the class system which this government seems keen to reintroduce. This system condemns a young person to a particular way of life based on their parents income - regardless of their ability or aspiration. The only way to counter this is by providing universal access to an equal standard of education for every child.

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