Lost without a Compass – How can a church send its own children off into the wilderness?

BB NOTE: “KAY4” – a regular patron here at the cafe, read this post about the “Confirm not Conform” liturgy used last Sunday at Christ Church Alexandria.

A church-sponsored class of students were commissioned through the taking of vows in what was labeled a “covenant” where the church is confirming their youths’ “journey to discover their own faith” by exploring other religions. The congregation took a vow as well to support them as they send them off into the spiritual wilderness, even if they never come back.

Here is a true story by KAY4, military officer and Christian believer. It is a story that should be told again and again, lest any of us take for granted and turn our heads, as though we forget what faith in Jesus Christ means to a broken world:

This is a story about Frank.

Frank was a bright young officer under my command in Kosovo. We spent many long hours talking, especially late at night when all was quiet, unless their was a disturbance downtown or something. Frank was a recovering alcoholic and a man in search of answers. I worked hard with him, making steady progress until I finally reached the point where I could share the Gospel with him.

Frank was resistant to my first, clumsy attempts and so I backed off and tried an indirect approach (as Liddell-Hart would have it) and then time ran out and my tour came to an end. I left Kosovo and was transferred to the Pentagon.

I visited Frank’s parent command a year later on a short visit, but he was not at his desk. Later I found out why.

Frank’s depression came back, this time much worse than before. No one could approach him, apparently. Alas, on the very day I was in town, he took his own life.

I wondered for five years what happened before I finally learned that more was going on in Frank’s life than I knew. Although he told me he was an atheist, he was considered by others in his unit as a ‘deeply spiritual person’ who read many books on philosophy and Eastern religions. He said he preferred Eastern philosophies because of the lack of judgment or placing blame. He felt Christianity was a “blame religion” and it didn’t suit him.

In the months before his suicide, he read the series called, ‘Conversations with God’. I’m told the third book in the series discusses suicide and emphasizes suicide as ‘a personal choice’ and talks about the right of the individual to make that choice. He referrs to this in his suicide note. The author also states that there is no hell waiting for one in the afterlife. Frank appeared to take comfort in that idea. He also believed in reincarnation and the idea of past and future lives.

His suicide note, I understand, contained many common themes; a wish to end pain, a desire to ‘sleep’, the frustration with getting up every day and trying to ‘start over’, etc. He said that people could not truly live until they were ready to die and that his views on life and death were different to the people around him. He thought that “choice” was, in his words, “…the most sacred gift given…” to people, that everyone had “choice” which could never be taken away, that his choice was to end his suffering. Life was “…too much of a struggle and I want to rest, to find eternal sleep. The world was a riddle to me and I was a riddle among it.”

You can see why my stomach turned when I read what went on in Alexandria. Can people really be ‘setting up’ their children for a voyage with no compass, no heading, and no rudder?

Do people expect youngsters to ‘fish around’ for something that looks attractive but in reality is deadly? And what of the vows made at the children’s baptism? Do they not take it seriously?

One ‘Frank’ in my life was one too many.


BB NOTE: As we saw earlier, this is a far more serious, far more serious development then any piece of litigation the church might think up. By not only condoning, but actually confirming their intention to send their own children out into a spiritual wilderness – a wilderness where the church itself affirms the fact that their own children may never come back and then has the audacity to take a public vow that this is a good thing is no church at all.