I have been thinking about this idea of authenticity a lot lately. And simultaneously the notion of identity. It seems to me that as individuals, families, communities as a society we are not happy with who we are, who we have become and indeed who we envisage ourselves becoming. Being authentic in today’s media and technology saturated world is harder than you might imagine. Nick Bogardus writes:
Millennials value authenticity, but we have no idea how to be authentic. Just look at the social media habits. We spend the majority of our days adjusting our image online for our friends rather than being known by them. We text instead of have verbal conversations…. we base our identities on the same things our parents did.
Bogardus points out that we no longer believe in the Western American Dream equivalent and there is a lot of evidence in people for a longing for the past, a simple life, a thoughtful existence and a meaning to just belong.
The search for authenticity takes people to many places. They quit sugar and carbs, they exercise in intense people groups with high accountability, they meditate and refocus in retreats, they pay homage to and worship the environment by fixing the damage to the local landscape, they raise money for sickness and disease, they write letters and lobby politicians to defend asylum seekers and advocate for freedom for those caught up in human trafficking, they dig veggie patches, hunt and forage, they knit and sew they thrift and busk, they join community choirs, sports clubs, book clubs. We make. We create. We try to connect. But it would seem we still fail.
Until Millennials come to trust Jesus, they will live life like Facebook: confusing connection for intimacy, and a self-edited presentation of themselves online for really being known. Until then, they will continue to confuse recycling for justification, simple living for sanctification, and gardening for the in-breaking of God’s kingdom. You can read more of Bogardus @ the Resurgence.
So I am days away from going to a regional Women’s Conference. The organisers have been successfully utilising the resources from Equip and running a local event that encourages women to gather together to get some great teaching, training and networking opportunities. I am keen to see how it goes. I suspect there will be no bells, smells and show bags. This is not a women’s conference where you are told to be kind to yourself, be moved to tears by another’s story and book into the day spa. I hope that we will be encouraged to think about the truth, mediate on the word, repent, receive and share our stories of change. Of His change and work in us.
Well known and respected women’s speaker Elyse Fitzpatrick, speaking at The Resurgence reveals why she hates women’s conferences and the fluff and bricks that go with them. An insightful article. Why do you go to women’s conferences?
“Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him and would not let him go . . .” Song of Solomon 3:4
Many of you may have heard me promote this idea before. Some of you have laughed uncomfortably and others know there is something in it. Our kids hopefully see this whenever my man or I part company for work for the day. The 6 Second Kiss. Jani Ortlund gives a lovely description of what the 6 second kiss involves and why….. in case you were wondering. It works. It just does ….don’t let him go before you try this for yourself.
Do you ever feel as though hardship, suffering or tough times have come your way yet again? Life seems unfair and unjust. Christians are not always helpful in shedding light on the Gospel during these times. We comfort each other with platitudes and ‘words of encouragement’ that are like a complex puzzle to be unravelled. But this blogpost by Casey Cease points us to Jesus and reminds us that in God’s Big Plan for the world, nothing is wasted. So don’t waste your life dwelling on the hurt, the bad, the suffering. Mourn, be sad, seek comfort, help and counsel, but know that God is Sovereign over everything. He is using those splinters and offcuts to build something bigger and better.