Dr. Andy Pate Jr.
The Orange Leader
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22.6).
Either our childhood has lasted too long or we who've passed the half-century mark failed to learn as we ought to have when we were young. For the older we get these days, the more we're having to be retrained and having forced upon us the notion that the old values and old ways are no longer valid.
Today's older generation of Christians learned the essentials of faith through catechisms and in Sunday School where they were taught that the key to successful living was to follow Jesus by faithfully adhering to the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. A clear, but demanding bit of wisdom noteworthy for this simple fact: it works.
Today's younger generations have largely thrown away that key, declaring in effect, it will no longer open modernity's most inviting doors.
They think they're right. We firmly think they're not. In fact, there are many reasons to believe that the younger folks are not coping so well without a time-tested formula for dealing with unexpected hardships, or with widespread family and job insecurities not to mention their having to figure out how to pay off huge piles of plastic-made debt absent sufficient income.
Without a sturdy rudder, sailing in stormy seas can get mighty, mighty rough.
Jesus' closest disciples were on dry land the night he was betrayed, but they were in grave danger of being blown away by the the anger-driven emotions of an envious religion competing in a corrupt, pagan world. Yet, he said to the those endangered followers, "I will not leave you comfortless" (John 14:18).
He didn't, and he hasn't. Despite the gross hypocrisy and heresies within our established churches and the pervasive secularization of American society of our troubled 21st Century, the living, loving Spirit of Jesus Christ remains as comforting and as sure and as certain in its guiding ability as it ever has.
Jesus Christ remains the Model of Perfection, the Epitome of Truth and Wisdom. Jesus' teachings are, as the apostle Paul once said, "the more excellent Way."
Congratulations, graduating seniors of 2013. We love you!