As I write this the KONY 2012 video is about to break 72 million views. By now you know the story of Invisible Children’s campaign and the passion of people who support it and the detractors who discredit the movement.
Whether we condone it or reject it, few can deny what this that this movement has shown us about youth culture today. We see firsthand how a persuasive message can spread worldwide in the blink of an eye. We watch how quickly young people can be informed, excited and spurred to action over a cause with the power of media. We hear about how simple stories of the perpetuation of injustice can move youth to action.
One article I read succinctly explained the spark in this firestorm of action – “Young people are eager for a moral cause.” Youth today are not just looking for something fun to do. They’re not just seeking excitement or thrills. They don’t just want to help out a good cause. They want to fight for what is right. They are not looking to settle down with a good job, raise a family, and save for retirement like their parents did. They want their lives to have meaning. Not just in their free time, or their weekends off, but their whole lives. They have seen how an 18 year old can change the way the world buys and listens to music. They’ve seen how a 20 year old can make a social networking website that changes the course of human interaction. They’ve seen how a single person can raise over 1 million pairs of shoes for children in need. They believe that they can change the world.
This has a lot to say to those of us who work with youth in the church. Youth today don’t want to just go to church. They don’t want to just to sit in pews. They don’t just want to play games and eat pizza. I once asked one of the college students at my church what was motivating his recent spiritual growth spurt. His response was that he felt in his heart that he was asking God, “Give me something to fight for.” He was tired of living just a normal life and was asking God for more – more than just trying to be a good Christian guy. He wanted more. And God was fueling in his heart a hunger to fight.
Critics may say that today’s youth are too narcissistic and idealistic, that they act without thinking, they only pursue things with immediate short term gratification, or do things just because it’s cool or popular. These are undoubtedly fair criticisms. But throughout history we’ve seen that sometimes the naivety and idealism of youth can spark action that older generations are too jaded to try to change.
We can easily fall into the trap of apathy or cynicism to the ever present calls to fighting need and injustice. Or just as bad, we get caught up in fighting the wrong things. We fight about the culture. We fight about politics. We fight about the color of the church carpet.
In our hearts, God created us to fight for what is right. He calls us to fight for the kingdom. He calls us to fight for souls that are hungry and searching for answers. He calls us to fight against the injustice, oppression and pain that exists in this world. He calls us to fight for God’s work to be done here on this earth – that the good news would be preached, the lost would be found, that the blind would see.
Our calling is not just to make videos or to put up posters. It’s not even just to bring down a single dictator. It is to change the world through the love and redeeming grace of God. Let us be wise, well informed, passionate, sold-out fighters for what is right.
This is our fight.
Let’s not quit.
Let’s get going.
Let’s get fighting.