Too Many Questions: A Young Adult Devotion | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
September 2010

Too Many Questions: A Young Adult Devotion

By: Mandy Burbank

As I sit here to write my fourth and final essay, I know I would do better to find some lesson that I’ve learned in life, some way that God has humbled me and shaped me, that will be simple and easy to share. Thought provoking but just one small thought so it can fit easily in 500 words.

But what is really on my heart is something that would most likely be better suited to a graduate thesis, or a life’s work of research and deep thinking and analytical writing. I find myself musing on humanism, environmentalism, Buddhism, enlightenment and the Christian Faith. How is Jesus relevant to my generation? A people hungry for peace, activists who see Christianity as the status-quo, as their parent’s excuse for mediocrity, or as the primary fuel for hypocritical and judgmental bigots – the new evil in this world, which is moving towards a golden future of love and equality.

I recently followed a link from one of my favorite musician’s website to read the SuperForest Humanifesto which states “Try your hardest to treat others as you hope they would treat you, and actively look for ways to help the people around you. Do this from a pure place within you and watch the effects ripple outward! Why? Because so few are doing it. Good manners make you stand out like a struck match in a dark room.” This is an environmentalist website encouraging its readers to respect and show compassion to the Earth as well as its inhabitants, in order to “save the human race,” “totally change this planet,” and transform society.

As much as I love the message of hope and goodness in this manifesto, the title “Humanifesto” speaks for itself. It is a clever play on words; the message is humanistic at its core. Humanism is defined by Webster as: “a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values ; especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason.”

Do people really think that manners, mutual respect, or even human goodness, are going to “save the human race”? Are Christians simply cynics who refuse to support our fellow person by believing in his or her potential? What makes our message as Christians, the one we preach, but more importantly the one we live before our fellow men and women different? What makes it more likely to succeed? What is our goal and do we even need God to achieve it?

I know that was a lot of questions, but my favorite thing about the Young Adult Network is the statement: “Hard Questions. Answers Optional.” I sometimes am afraid to ask questions because I have too many, because the easy answers don’t satisfy. But unanswered spiritual questions can leave a person raised to believe that there is a pat, simple answer for everything, feeling like she is dangling from a precipice or deep-sea diving, with every side, top and bottom exposed to attack.

When my husband and I first got married he was a scuba diver and he wanted me to get certified and share with him in this beautiful and exciting hobby, but I refused. I told him that the fear of floating deep in open water—exposed, cold, dependent on a tank for air for survival, easily forgetting up from down, with no way to put myself in a corner where I could keep an eye on my surroundings, watching to be sure no one could sneak up on me—the fear was too great. I have always regretted being so afraid of the unknown that I stayed safely on the shore.

See more devotions from Mandy and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.