I’ve long since forgotten what occasioned the fight between two neighborhood boys that required my intervention. Since the scuffle between these two fourth graders was happening in my backyard and I saw it unfolding, I needed to step in. When I told the boys to break it up, one of them looked up at me and defiantly said, “You’re Not The Boss of Me!” Needless to say, at that moment I was the boss. . . and that was the end of the fight.
I think often about how that defiant kid’s words have continued to echo through our culture with greater frequency and volume. They might not be stated explicitly as you might think. Rather, they are heard whenever an individual states by their words or actions that “I’m the boss of me!”
We are living in a day and age where there is a crisis in authority. Oh. . . there is authority. But in today’s world it’s seen as virtuous to live under the authority of nobody and nothing other than one’s own self.
Case in point. . . I recently read the book Queerfully and Wonderfully Made: A Guide for LGBTQ+ Christian Teens. (The book’s title, occasion, and message are a topic I’ll address more fully sometime in the near future.) Early on, the writers tell readers that “this book isn’t going to lie to you.” Suffice it to say for now that from front to back, the book denies any authority – that of God, the Word of God, parent, pastors, etc. – other than one’s own self when it comes to understanding just about everything in life, first and foremost being one’s understanding and practice of sex and gender. As a side note, it’s a heart-breaking read.
Consider these words in answer to this first question posed to readers of the book: “How do I even know who I am?” Here’s the book’s answer: “Listen to yourself. It might sound cheesy, but one of the best ways to know who you are is to. . . trust yourself. What does your gut tell you? What are you feeling? . . . Don’t hide from your feelings. Do not stifle or deny them. And don’t ignore what your body is telling you. If a voice somewhere inside of you is saying you’re queer, listen. . . Accepting who you are is more important than knowing who you are.” And then multiple times throughout the book we read this: “You are the only authority on who you are.”
I’ve got to tell you. . . if I had trusted my own self as much as this book and the cultural spirit is telling kids to trust themselves. . . oh man. . . what a disaster!
Today, I address this crisis in authority in a short, 1-minute episode of our daily Youth Culture Today podcast. I offer up a challenge to parents and youthworkers regarding teaching kids to judge their feelings by Scripture, rather than judging Scripture by their feelings. It’s a message that is desperately needed and quite counter-cultural in today’s world. Give it a listen. If you’re a youth worker, please pass it on to parents (youth workers, this daily podcast is a great way for your to partner with parents!). And by all means, subscribe to Youth Culture Today wherever you get your podcasts. . .