Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now. – Bob Dylan, "My Back Pages"
It's June of 1967. Sergeant Pepper was released on June 1st. It's the beginning of the Summer of Love.
The world is exploding in change and in war. Well, Young Dork, and that isn't going to change.
14-year-old Thomas, I greet you from afar. I don't know why I am doing this because 14-year-old us isn't going to listen to anybody.
I thank you for your questioning. It drove you/me across the parking lot to the Presbyterian Church where they expected me to have my own mind. It is better to be talked to than yelled at. This was an important step in your "faith journey." That's a term that people use in church today. There are a lot of terms and invented words that will drive you nuts over your coming life, but you will learn to roll with the punches. Just try to remain calm when someone says "missional" or "visioning." It's not that important.
Young Thomas, you will attend a Presbyterian College but never go to Chapel. You will live the life of the prodigal son. You will live a life that threatens to introduce you to Jesus face-to-face too many times to count. You will not really practice a faith for a long time, but it will still be there...somewhere.
Look at the Dylan quote at the top of the page. I am younger now. Everything is not deathly serious. Things have a way of working out. All is not life and death, black or white, right or wrong. There are more than two sides to every story. It will turn out that our generation will not bring about instant world peace. The people of the world will not all get along and be groovy forever. We will be incredibly self-centered and self-important and just as hypocritical as the establishment against which we rail. We'll be greedy, seedy and as crooked as any former generation.
However, your daughter's generation (yes, you have a daughter) may actually have a clue. They don't buy the BS, they actually act out the idea of equality. They walk the walk on the idea that living is better than having.
It's the birth of your daughter that will bring you back to the church, and guess what? You actually like it for the most part. Christians have a bad name in the general public these days.
Christian is a media code word for "intolerant, judgmental jerk." But, you will find a community where all that "peace, love and understanding"and "smile on your brother" stuff means something.
You will have moments of doubt. You will have long periods of not even thinking about faith.
But what I can tell you, what that I believe now, is that God loved you/me that whole time.
Since I am here writing to you, me at 14, I cannot give advice. It's too late. We've already been through it all. But, I can tell you I'm younger than that now. Being "an old" is okay. The experiences you will have will give you a greater appreciation of God and creation. The more cycles you see, the more amazing it will become. You will learn that you haven't seen it all.
You of all people, Thomas, haven't seen it all because you don't pay attention. It all becomes more amazing when you take a minute or two to really observe.
Look, as far as this Jesus thing goes, pay attention to what he says. Not so much what other people say he said. Don't trust people who say God talks directly to them in English, out loud. They are nuts. Don't listen to people who tell you you are going to Hell. Tell them to go to Hell.
When you have doubts, treat people as if the gosples are all true.
Just a few messages in passing.
Don't turn that noise down. Crank it.
In the future, you will avoid something called disco. I'm proud of you.
You will have a wonderful wife.
You will get along with your sister. No, seriously. You will.
Madras pants are always a bad decision.
Of all the balderdash to come out of the summer of love, the whole "wear some flowers in your hair" was junk. One thing was true – and still is true – and should be the foundation of your life and your faith: All You Need is Love.