Why are we at Rambling Spirit so passionate about young adult ministry? Maybe it's because we see the tide coming in, and we're interested in bringing in the members of our generation who are concerned about our society, our heritage, our civilization. Even more than that though, maybe we're interested in young adult ministry because we see a hurting world and want to bring together those who wish to serve and heal the spiritually broken, and maybe we're done sitting on the sidelines. This is only the beginning, because a good relationship with God is the solution to all of the problems in the world. We grew up in a society that didn't teach that.
I can really only speak for myself and the group of friends I went to grade school and high school with, but these following trends did seem quite prominent growing up. In a nutshell, we idolized Kurt Cobain because we saw him as a voice and martyr of a misunderstood generation. To us the greatest virtues were individuality, uniqueness, genuineness and eccentricity; in school the worst thing someone could call you was "poser." Yet Poser was also the name of a popular computer game, the beginning of the avatar phenomenon, where you could create your own computer-generated persona and do whatever you wanted with it. This was, and still is, the prominent desire and mentality of many young people. In the ever-growing number of robotics classes throughout the nation students tout about the versatility of their new robot creation as it crawls along in the school hallway, saying 'I can do anything with it,' in the same tone that they show off their newest Christmas toys.
So this ideology is also propagated at the school level, starting at a young age, therefore we can't just blame ourselves for the way we're wired to our wired devices. A dramatic severance from the natural order has caused us to think that we can create our own reality -- and this new reality is not just something we've been taught. It's something that is very much in reach, in fact in many ways it's already here.
I'm not anti-technology, but I am anti 'technology for the sake of technology' or 'for the sake of progress.' In all the ways they can be used for good, I celebrate advances in every field; but apparently this alternate reality we are creating has left a big hole in us, and the only One who can fill it is not taken seriously enough.
With that backdrop, perhaps it's easier to understand this generation of seekers, this generation that feels the need for genuine religion but doesn't know where to find it. And yes, we Catholics who grew up in a deteriorating Church are looking around every corner for this genuineness, just as curiously and passionately as we searched for bands like Nirvana that flirted with spirituality. But now we are more seasoned, and have deeper respect for those who came before us. Maybe I am only speaking for myself, but I do feel like I'm at least not completely alone.
We're the individuals who wander cluelessly through your parish halls looking for that small group that we heard about through some distant friend or some untraceable email. We're the seekers, the rambling spirits, who cannot settle anywhere on this earth because we know we're just passing through -- and there's just too much to do, too many people to reach out to.
We tenaciously grab the inspiration we received from marginalized groups of young adults and take it into the world, using it as an initiative to start our own ministries because we're sick and tired of the complacency and lack of involvement we grew up around. Our mentors misunderstood us as adolescents, so we grew up stagnant -- feeling unguided and uncalled. Now that we notice how no one is going to place the baton in our laps, we grab it ourselves and blaze our own path.
To that end I started a young adult ministry at my own parish, because if you drill the Gospels into your head enough they start telling you to actually do the stuff they're saying. My ministry would mean nothing if it were not grounded in the richness of the Catholic faith. My Christian life would have no depth if I were not ready to explain the reasons for why I do the Christian things that I do. That is why we started Rambling Spirit magazine.
Likewise, all my explanations of that Christian life would be but mindless prattling if the blog posts and articles didn't give me the incentive to live out what I am saying. And it is not enough to attend events with like-minded Catholics. Our faith calls us to service, prayer, study, and sacrifice. This is much more demanding than gathering to discuss Scripture or talking at a bar. These are springboards to other acts of faith. As G.K. Chesterton said, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found too difficult and left untried."