Readings: Genesis 41:46-57, Psalm 56, 1 Corinthians 4:8-21, Mark 3:7-19a
In the reading from Genesis, we find that Joseph begins working for Pharaoh at age 30. He travels across Egypt, organizing the storage of the abundance of food in preparation for the famine. During this time of preparation he has two children. He becomes the second most powerful person in the kingdom of Egypt, and perhaps the world: "all the world came to Joseph...because the famine became severe throughout the world" (v. 57). And he achieves all of this as a young adult.
Jesus, in today's passage from the Gospel according to Mark, is beginning his ministry in Galilee. It is commonly held that this was taking place when he was in his 30s. Jesus appoints twelve apostles "to be with him," and some suggest that these men were also in their 30s or even younger.
The past few years I have seen many articles saying that my generation (Generation Y or the Millennials) is growing up to be lazy, self-involved, and apathetic. Of course, there are young adults (and adults in general) that fit this description, but the majority of young adults I know do not. Most of the ones I know are passionate, involved, and inspirational. Several of them have done Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or other amazing internships (like Resurrection House, an Episcopal Service Corps internship in Omaha, NE). They are teachers, nurses, music therapists, social workers, therapists, musicians, youth ministers, priests, and work in non-profit organizations. They are passionate about changing the world for the better: some have donated their hair or shaved it to raise awareness, others have run races to raise money for disease research, still others dedicated summers to mission work in underprivileged communities, and some held quilt raffles to raise money for people affected by national disasters. Findings by the PewResearchCenter characterize the Millennials as "confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living."
In my completely humble and non-biased point of view (read: sarcasm), young adults are awesome. If they are so passionate and involved in their communities, why aren't many of them in the church? Maybe they feel that the church is out-of-touch with them. That the church doesn't have what it takes to get them involved (or not lose them in the first place). Perhaps even that they don't practice what they preach. I'm not exactly sure why; as a young adult seminarian, I'm somewhat of an anomaly. But recently some of my friends have shared a blog that suggests that the Episcopal Church is out-of-touch with young adults, or at least does not consider them a priority. The proposed budget for the Episcopal Church was recently released, and it has some pretty stunning omissions. They have drastically reduced the amount of money for young adult ministry: from ~$3million to $286,000. They have completely eliminated the seminarian scholarship. Although they have increased the budget for Young Adult Service Corps (from $321,000 to $381,000), they have cut funding for many local and overseas missions.
What does this say about our Church's priorities?*
*Stay tuned for opportunities to comment on the proposed budget here (it also has a link to the actual proposed budget). If you feel that the Church should make some changes, make your voice heard!
Ladies and gentlemen, here is the future of the Episcopal Church. Look out!
(and yes, I have on a mustache)