Monday, February 22, 2010

Confusion and Healing

This morning I read a sad article about a 17 year old that attempted to castrate himself because he was "dissatisfied with his identity and wanted to look like a woman".  In our own world of youth work this week we have talked with several teens about similar questions about their sexual identity.  Thankfully no one I know has gone to such extremes of self mutilation.  However I recognize the root cause of this well. 

The culture we live in has sexualized everything.  It is rare to see an advertisement, music video, television shows, or comedians that does not portray a sexual theme in their message.  I don't want to be misunderstood.  I think sexuality is an amazing aspect of being human.  It is something that should be portrayed as part of our experience.  However if someone is trying to mutate themselves to give way to the sexual pressures they are facing than we must stop and realize that something is broken.

For years the church perspective has been seen as one that condemns sexual practice publicly and seems to get caught within sexual scandals privately.  Sadly this is more true than many care to admit.  Both sides are broken.  One side overemphasizes and twists sexuality into something that unacheivable and unhealthy in a normal life (hence the reason that teens feel a sexualized pressure).  On the other side sexuality is something that is often stiffled and spoke about in hushed tones that would lead one to think that has no impact on the rest of our lives.  Enjoyed within marriage but not expressed or experienced anywhere else.

The truth of the matter is that sexuality impacts people at many different levels.  How they dress, with whom they associate themselves with, how they look at other people, and how they perceive the world around them. Some of the youth I work with have opened the doors of a church on sunday morning, shouted their sexual preferences into the open lobby of the building and then ran away.  Are there differences?  Big time.

I do see a trend of loving church people trying to reconcile the differences.  Sometimes it is hard to look past the behaviors of people and move into the issues that people face.  But that doesn't mean that they dont need some loving support.  We all have issues that we need to face, to challenge, and change before the pressure kills us, or leaves us maimed for life.  It could be gambling, abuse, drinking, lying, gossip, etc etc etc.  Sexuality is not the only pressure, it just seems that way some times.

Sexuality as portrayed in this newscast shows that some deep healing is needed.  If someone hurt that core of their identity they need to be challenged to figure out what their core beliefs should be.  As a youth worker I am committed to walking some of these difficult roads with today's youth.  If anyone wants to come to try to figure out life with my team and I we accept them.  It is messy and complicated, but it's honest and in honesty many people's ideas and identities can change.  There is hope for healing.  Lets pray for it.

Also take some time to read this article, it explains a lot of the reasons why I feel called to be a youth worker. Healing the Hurts of Broken Teens

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