Leaving Neverland

17 Feb

Some of the best conversations with students are unplanned.  Like riding in the car on the way to a retreat, mission trip, or on the way to visit a local congregation.

On one such occasion, a new freshmen was sitting in the front seat as I drove, while everyone else sat in the backseat sleeping.  We chatted about classes and then, out of the blue, he says, “I have this theory about faith.  Do you want to hear it?”  Well, yeah, of course.  A student who wanted to share about faith.  Isn’t that my job, to listen?  He went on the explain that he thinks a lot of people are like Peter Pan.  They really don’t want to grow up in their faith.  They want to stay in Neverland, flitting about various fun activities.  And then he said, “ I think Wesley is a place that challenges you to leave Neverland.  A place that doesn’t let you ignore the difficult questions about faith.”

I loved this young man’s analogy.  So well thought out.  So honest and sincere.  So true.

In a culture where the media uses sex, fear, and violence to gain the attention of, not just young people, but all people, the work of faith, in following the way of Christ, becomes increasing difficult.  Flitting about from this activity to the next is the norm even if it’s not fulfilling.

Young adults today need a place to see their childish self in the mirror, choose to get their passport and depart Neverland.  To have a safe space to wrestle with faith, life, relationships, and the challenge of how all of these will shape who God has created them to be.

Campus Ministers just might be assistants on the departure flight from Neverland!

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Lisa Batten is the campus minister at Wesley Foundation of Kalamazoo, serving Western MI University, Kalamazoo College, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College.  She is an alum of Western MI University, is appointed as a local pastor, and currently attending Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary working toward an MDiv.  Lisa has been married to her husband Jim for 24 years has three children and two dogs.

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One Response to “Leaving Neverland”

  1. Barbara Heck February 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    Thanks for listening to your student and sharing this story with us.
    Great analogy!

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