“You are the Answer to Your Own Prayer”
In the book A Generation Alone one of the authors worked extensively with Vietnam Vets, recovering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
PTSD is a condition resulting from a stressful incident which is beyond our normal functional range of human experience…
…such as combat, terrorism, torture, rape, violence, or other long-term extreme experiences.
Entire generations of soldiers show signs of PTSD.
Author William Mahedy writes about college students he works with who show signs of many of the same PTSD symptoms.
He explains that such high percentages of young people have endured traumas of abandonment due to divorce, psychological or sexual abuse, overexposure to media violence, being brought up in homes which are infested with drugs, and it appears that we have bred a PTSD generation.
Mahedy says, “I can find no other explanation for the widespread problems with stability, self-image, feelings of emptiness, depression, suicidal thinking, fear of the future, and lack of hope among the young.”
He said that “Abandonment is the fundamental component of these disorders…the young have been abandoned by parents, loved ones, teachers, political leaders, even the culture itself.
No one is really ‘there’ for them now…
More than any of their predecessors, they have been since birth a generation alone.”
And as the church, I believe we are called to create a culture of connection for people who are alone.
People value connections with others above everything else, and since Christianity is about relationships—with God and others—what better group is there to create a culture of connection for people who are alone than the Church?
We have both a great responsibility and a great privilege at this time in history and in this particular location.
In his book The Rise of Christianity sociologist Rodney Stark describes how Christianity went from being such a small group to the dominant religion in such a short period of time.
He shows that there were two huge and terrible epidemics during the first few centuries.
And if those who were affected were cared for—there was a good chance they would survive.
But often when a member of someone’s family got the disease, the other family members—in fear—left that person uncared for and left their homes for other places.
The Christians, however, didn’t do this.
They cared for their own family members and also cared for those who were left behind by their family members.
And that willingness to suffer in order to care for the sick had a part to play in large numbers of people turning to Christ.
People respond to love!
This past week I was having a conversation with a friend when I asked him if he and his wife were trying to have a baby.
His answer, “We’re not--not trying.”
And then he added, “But the thought of having a child scares me to death!”
I told him that it is the greatest experience in life, and that he will be amazed that he is able to love another human being as much as he will love his own child.