Jaded faith

I don’t remember many of the details, but it was a junior-high English class (OK, it might have even been in high school, but I don’t think so). The assignment was to bring a recorded song to class, and talk about it what it meant to you. Basically, we were supposed to do some analysis of art, this time of music rather than literature.

Like I said, I don’t remember much, like what song I brought, or what I thought about it. The only thing I really remember is a song a friend of mine brought, or rather, just one lyric from it: “I’m 15 — I can’t be jaded yet.” This was the chorus of a song by some Australian teen punk band, if my poor memory serves.

Well, I’m now 30, and some days I feel very jaded. I feel like anything I do is a waste, because it doesn’t seem to have any effect on this world, good or bad. I feel that plenty, believe me.

I have those days, it’s true. I’m 30 — I can’t be jaded yet, can I? Going through the ministerial fellowship process can make you that way, that’s for sure. There are seminary hoops to jump through — correction, I mean “great learning experiences” — many, many steps to go through for the UUA’s fellowship and ordination process, and all of it can easily make you feel like you’re racking up debt and spending years of your life with no guarantee you’ll even get through. It’s really easy to feel that way.

But then, I think about the conversation I had with the youth group I work with a few months back. The one where we talked about how to be a good person, how to know what the right thing to do is, how they want to change the world for the better. Because those are the things I think about, the things that made me want to be a minister, to help people and make the world a better place.

We can make a difference for the better. I believe that as much as I believe anything in the world. I have faith that optimism makes sense in this world, something the Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams called one of the hallmarks of liberal religion.

So I’m 30, and I’m not jaded yet. May it be so for a long, long time to come.


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