Thursday, August 2, 2012

Scripture vs. Society: Mediocrity

Mediocre (adj.) - Of only moderate quality, not very good, ordinariness
Have you ever heard the phrase “monkey see, monkey do”?
In Alex and Brett Harris’s book, “Do Hard Things”, they talk about what I originally thought was the most random and impertinent thing: elephants of India. After reading and seeing the connection that was made between the elephants and my generation, I was stunned at the relevance to today’s culture. The analogy goes like this (paraphrased):
Fully grown elephants in India weight about 5 tons and are used to uproot trees and carry heavy loads with their enormous strength. But when it’s time to leave the elephant behind for the night, the owner takes a piece of string and ties the animal to the fencepost and every morning the elephant stays right where he was left.
Why?  Why can an animal used to uproot trees suddenly not easily be able to break a string?
Taken away from its mother, a baby elephant is trained very young. The owner places a shackle around its hind leg and attaches it to a tree trunk. After straining for weeks, the elephant eventually realized that its exertion is useless. Over time, smaller trees and chains are used until the elephant stays put with only a piece of string tying it to a small branch. Its mind is fully committed to the idea that it cannot go anywhere as long as something is around its back leg.
Just like the elephant, our generation is accepting defeat and settling for less because we’ve been conditioned by our twisted media and culture to believe that mediocrity is to be expected.
Think about it. Older generations are not surprised anymore when today’s youth and young adults are lazy, uninspired, promiscuous, and irresponsible. “We are fluent in multiple computer languages, but aren’t expected to be able to hold an intelligent conversation with other adults about things like personal finance, politics, or our faith.” (Alex Harris). We should be disgusted by this! Why are we sitting back and letting this image of us to develop?
History shows us that our generation can and should be much more competent and are capable of much higher goals than the ones we find ourselves generally faced with. It’s insulting where the bar of excellence has been placed for us recently. Children used to be encouraged to transition to adulthood as early as possible, now we seem to be prolonging the transition for much longer than necessary, leaving young adults almost completely unprepared for adult life.
“The only thing holding young people back in America today is the twine of this perpetual recess called adolescence and the twig of lowered social expectations. We expect immaturity and irresponsibility, from ourselves and from one another, and that is exactly what we get” (Alex and Brett again).
We fall short of our true potential because we aim only as big as the next fish in our small pond, but a commitment to growth kills complacency. We could be so much greater and make much more impact on the world around us if we actually lived up to what we know we’re really capable of. Why are we settling?
So what does this mean specifically for the Christian? What could happen if we took that mentality and drive for excellence and translated it into fuel for changing global issues like world hunger or the abolishment of modern day slavery? What does it look like for a disdain of the ordinary to be paired with the gospel of Christ?
I think God responds when a group of people, maybe especially young people, radically live for Him and pursue Him, when people use the enormous potential that they have to do what Jesus did, to rescue and change a lost and dying world, to change the course of nations.
Jaime Tworkowski, founder of the nonprofit, “To Write Love on her Arms”, writes:
“We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body and to move for things that matter. God is not invisible when we come alive.” I agree so greatly.
Our entire purpose is to live for and proclaim Christ. If we don’t start speaking up now, no one will. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of bare minimum Christianity.
The global cause that has gripped my heart for years now is the issue of human trafficking and the pursuit of the abolishment of modern day slavery. I took up that cause after I first heard about it at a “Next” Christian conference in Baltimore in 2009 and my passion for it has really grown (and is finally starting to materialize) this year through watching both the movie “Amazing Grace” and the Atlanta Passion2012 conference and reading the Alex and Brett Harris’s book “Do Hard Things (which I strongly recommend reading).
There is a quote from the “Amazing Grace” movie that really keeps me going and I believe so immensely that if we honestly took it to heart and lived like it, it would change history forever. The quote is simply this:
“We’re too young to believe that certain things are impossible, so we will do them anyway”.
So this is a call to my generation to start living up to our God given potential and purpose and raise our own bar for what is expected of us. Don’t accept the shackles of mediocrity. Let’s stop functioning on bare minimum Christianity and radically live for and proclaim Christ. Let’s start changing the world and making a positive name for ourselves in the history books. 

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