TED Conversations

Nate Thiessen

Swimming Coach, and Youth Pastor in Training, Student in Prairie Bible College - BAM-YO

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Do you think Youth need to more spiritually aware for themselves? Why? And how do we do it?

I am finding more and more that Youth are looking for that "quick fix" in life to fill what is described by them (religious or not) that they have a void that they are trying to fill. they are trying to search for a meaning for their life. I believe that the majority of the answer for that comes from a lack of understanding who they are spiritually and where they stand. When asked if any of them have tried Christianity or any other religion 70% said that they have considered it but never wanted to get into it more, either because they were to busy with "quick fixing" or they did not want to follow in their parents spiritual foot prints and they wanted to make it their own (however being distracted by the "quick fix." I want to know what is the TED community view on how to get Youth interested in seeking out spiritual awareness for themselves. What works, What does not work, What do you wish you would have done in your youth to become more self aware?

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    Aug 25 2011: Watch the Demise of guys by Philip Zimbardo (link is above) now I am currently going to college for youth ministry and seeing the demise of guys is nothing shocking to me. What is shocking to me is the affect that being apart of a youth group (or even an organized sport) has on adolescent men and woman. Going to church on a sunday morning is a scary thing (been there, done that, slept well) but many church's offer a youth group during the week where jr. high and sr. highs can meet with their respected age groups and do games, hang out, spend time getting to know each other, and be poured into by older men and woman who want to help them along in their life. Yes youth pastors teach from the bible, however it is like a great resource to learn and understand challenge youth with different morals and what they believe. An effective youth pastor does not preach one opinion at them (ex. abortion is wrong(this is just an example of a one sided talk not my own view point posed for discussion))but rather engages youth in why it is unwise to have sex before you are married (risking pregnancy which will take you away from your studies, put a very large obstacle in your way of achieving your dreams and a child should be raised with a committed mother and father as it was intended). Youth always have the choice to take or leave whatever they are taught. But if youth do not have someone pouring wise advice into them and encouraging them to make more moral decisions, they are far more likely to drop out of school due to parties, pregnancy, lack of ambition and lack of self-belief. I asked a highschool student (grade 10 at the time) who was contemplating dropping out of school two years ago as to why he wanted to do so. After an in depth conversation he said this: "I would stay if someone believed in me, but I don't. My dads to busy, my mom doesnt care and my friends only want me at parties every night cause I am stupid entertainment." He is top of his class now after joining youth
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      Aug 25 2011: This is why my future children need to stay away from these organizations. Indoctrinating them with the churche's unhealthy relationship with sex is a terrible thing to do to a teenager who is going through so much hormonal transformations. Ever heard of contraception? There's a reason teen pregnancy is so high in the US, it's because you teach teenagers not to have sex instead of teaching them about contraception and in the end they go and have sex anyway, because teenagers are teenagers. Your little success stories will not suffice to validate your idea. Sounds like you've just convinced yourself you're dealing with a simple problem with a simple problem.

      I'd like to know how you'd deal with young gay teenagers, care to tell us?
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        Aug 26 2011: Why do you say that the churches relationship with Sex is Unhealthy? Because they said DO NOT DO IT and left it at that? yes our elders failed to understand and relate to adolescent thoughts. but where they right when they said that sex should be saved for marriage? Contraception is not 100%. You can take all the persuasions but every time you enter into intercourse you are always taking a gamble. Yes the chance of conception is significantly decreased, but why risk the chance aside from the fact that it is fun and that you feel rebelious doing it when people have told you not to. How a person runs their sexual life is up to them. By all means if you want to have sex go for it. If it is with the same sex sure why not. I teach contraception along with the risks.

        A person can not control who they are attracted to. That is just how the brain works. it is stupid to tell a gay person that their interest in the same gender is wrong because that is just how their brain is wired. There is nothing that can be done to change that. Yes there are cases where the individual is sexually confused due to events in their life and that is what I would work with them on, seeking healing from those events. yes I would encourage them to seek love in the opposite gender because marriage and bringing new life to the world is a beautiful thing. But if they decide that they wish to be gay, then all love to them.

        Who am I to judge? I am just as screwed up as the next person. the least I can do is love others as I wish to be loved by them.

        What will you indoctrinate into your future children Matthieu? Will you teach them that all religion is wrong and that seeking out a "God" is stupid? Or will you allow them to explore for themselves? Will you tell them "NO" when they want to do something that you morally do not agree with because you have learned the pain of its backlash?
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          Aug 26 2011: Yes, it's not 100%, the remaining percentages correspond to bad usage which you can help avoid by providing the right sex ed. I'm glad to hear you teach them about contraception. If you teach it right, by all means teach them abstinence too. Abstinence until marriage remains a dangerous way to repress human nature, with sometimes seriously undesirable consequences.

          I won't indoctrinate my children. My family is composed of Christians, agnostics and atheists, so I know what it's living without indoctrination. I won't tell my children God is stupid, that would imply he exists which he doesn't. I'll let them discover the world for what it truly is without enforcing the beliefs of my Christian ancestors. That way, they can look at Christianity, Islam and Hinduism in an unbiased manner and decide for themselves which one of these faiths, if any, is the more compelling. It's too easy for the offspring of religious parents to subscribe to that faith when they've been indoctrinated from day 1.

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