Last night at hs youth group, a super cool guy, by the name of Rami shared his faith with us. He is a Muslim, which means he practices Islam, or as he describes it: submission to God. Rami was very honest and articulate about his faith, and shared openly about what he believes and why. He was generous and kind, not judgmental in the least, and open to questions as well as eager to learn more about the Christian experience. At the end of our time together, Rami prayed, one of the the five times during the day that he does an intentional form of prayer.
His prayer was at least five minutes long, and in mostly complete silence. Everyone at our youth group was totally silent, respectful, and observant. But what struck me most profoundly was the openness and inquisitiveness of our young people.
This is week four in a multi-week series of inviting people to come and share their faith with our youth group. I have found that the youth are so curious! They really want to know about the religious experiences of these people. Sometimes biases come out, in both directions, but never in a seldom to never in a condescending tone. This is led me to a hypothesis:
Young people are specially equipped to have religious dialogue. Their brains are more plastic than adults. They are not "locked" into one way of looking at the world. They themselves are more likely to be honest about still figuring out their own faith, so the conversation tends to be more candid. As they begin to understand their faith in the context of a wider spectrum of religion, they gain insight and wisdom. This wisdom allows them to observe their own assumptions critically, and critical self-reflection is essential to authentic religious experience. I'm going to go reflect on that for a while.