How can I convince anyone that the church needs to take raising up parents to raise up kids seriously? In other words, how can I convince anyone that we need to be “Orange”?
The only thing that I can liken to “being orange” is “being green.” By now, we all know (at least in some practical sense) what it means to be “green.” Once a Kermit the Frog song, now we know that it is important for us to take seriously the stewardship of this earth that God given us.
I remember when people who wanted to recycle or celebrate “Earth Day” were considered hippies and a joke. I think a transition happened after Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” All of a sudden, it was if the world sat up straight and started to listen to what may be a problem. In many ways, Al Gore’s work was prophetic to a world that wasn’t listening.
So…I’m wondering, if the idea “orange” isn’t sticking, and people are really just relegating it to gimmick or “stuff for kids” status, where’s the “inconvenient truth” that could capture our hearts?
Maybe there are more ideas than just this one, but I was stopped dead in my tracks this morning as I was reading the book of Judges:
7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him… 10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers.
I have to think about the way society was back in those times. You probably lived near your parents your whole life. They would be a great influence on you. This generation appears to be a busy generation. God had charged their fathers with fighting for the heart, imagining the end, making it personal, creating a rhythm, and widening the circle. And, quite honestly, it doesn’t seem like they did it. This generation gleaned some of what their parents may have taught them. But, look at what happened next. Midway through Judges 2:10, I was floored…
And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.
What happened? A whole generation didn’t know the Lord! A whole generation didn’t even know what God had done for Israel! Moses had warned two generations ago about this! He basically told them to IMPRESS these things on the heart of the next generation because there will be a time when they’ll be asking questions about “why do we pray?” and “what’s the big idea with Passover?” Two generations later, the grandkids know nothing.
Maybe we can blame the grandparents. They didn’t raise their kids to know that they needed to take their kids’ faith seriously.
Maybe we can blame the parents. Maybe they were preoccupied with conquering and settling the Promised Land. Too busy to impress anything on their kids.
I was horrified by the results…
11 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. 12 And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. 13 They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. 14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. 15 Whenever they marched out, the hand of the LORD was against them for harm, as the LORD had warned, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.
A generation forfeited their obligation to speak into the next generation (to be orange), and the next generation neglected to provide any spiritual guidance. And now here’s a generation that’s totally lost. Depraved. Seeking hope in other gods. Making God angry with their behavior. Vulnerable. Hurt. “In terrible distress.”
Here’s what’s an “inconvenient truth” to me. If we don’t take seriously our charge as parents to raise up our kids to be followers of Jesus, it’s not like we have to die in order for us to lose our influence. Back in the day, you’d be around your family your whole life. Influence was probably a strong, life-long reality. But nowadays, your kid could go off to college; and that could be pretty much it. There may be holidays, but the influencing time was really in that first eighteen years.
This is one of the reasons that Orange means so much to me. At least they’re doing SOMETHING! Oh, and it’s not like they invented in some lab in Atlanta. This was God’s plan from the beginning. See Deuteronomy chapter 6. This wasn’t GOD’S PLAN! Just because they didn’t follow it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t work. I would think that God’s plan would work just fine if we actually followed it.
I freaked out when I saw shrinking polar ice caps.
I freaked out when I read Judges 2:10.
This whole orange thing is no joke.