My daughter (15) is receiving her Confirmation this year and in a conversation the other day I found out that she is not 100% sure that she wants to commit to a church that has let it’s people down so much and that has more importantly, not always followed what it has preached. Did I mention she knows this at 15? What did I know at 15?But that is what happens when they are taking college level European History while reading the news about all that is going on in the institutions that we are suppose to entrust our children to. They figure a lot out much earlier. Without the life experience to sift through all of the information they make age appropriate judgements about what is what.So much swirls around these kids and if we don’t bring it down to a relatable level they will get sucked into the vortex. My response was to remind her of the experience she has had in her parish community. Does her church community follow the gospel? Does it call her to be an agent of change and to stand up against injustice? To accept everyone as a brother or sister of Christ?? Thank God they do. A couple of weeks ago they were showing me one of the videos of that horrible church/cult (ugh, what is the name Westboro?) who makes a point of separating people from their God by screaming in the faces of those who they decided are target worthy that day. I said at the time, “Can you imagine what that must feel like, to think God hates you because you are what he made you?” and with tears in her eyes, she strongly replied, “I know, how could they say that?” My other daughter said, “I would be thinking than why am I alive?? If God hates me??” they were genuinely upset at the thought of someone being separated from their life-source; God. Hate is a word I don’t really allow in my house. So part of their reaction is because they know the strength of the word and that it is a lie, but another part is because they have heard every week at thier church about how to better love their neighbor, how God loves everyone, literally everyone. They know Westboro is wrong. Because we are a mission church, my children see the world in a bigger way. They worship with many different cultures. They see the gospel lived in the work that we do as a community. They understand that they play a role in the world. Theirs is a higher purpose. It can be hard on them, I know, because we live in an affluent school district, but I also think that what they see first hand is the struggle that the world is in. The see teens getting every material thing they want, while older veterans stand outside our church for sandwiches. The contrast is not lost on them.But the institutional church must take it’s responsibility for the loss of it’s younger people. because they also see the institutional church repeatedly denying her people their place in ministry. They see that the choices made by higher powers translate poorly to our old parish. My daughter knows that the inequality in our church is sinful and destructive. This is part of her struggle. The other part is the arrogance of the institutional church. But, I am so glad that she is thinking of what it means to be confirmed. I pray she feels good about it, that she is guided by a saint who can help her with that and that she is able to understand as much as I do that you don’t give up the faith simply because the humans in control screw up. The faith is given by God to one of his most flawed but devoted disciples for a reason. We are a flawed but devoted people. Hopefully, she can work with that.