(This is part of a series written by Millennials who have either left or stuck with the church. If you are a Millennial and would like to submit your work for publication, you will earn $100. Here is the link. To read more stories by Millennials search Millennial Exodus. If you would like to fund our research among emerging adults, click here.)
Here is Paul’s Story.
My household rarely has snacks in it, mainly because I eat whatever we have immediately. However, this very day a half eaten package of Oreos is in my cupboard. And now, as I type, I have no desire to eat the rest. I’ve eaten so many they don’t even taste good anymore.
And so it goes, with almost everything I consume. After playing video games for hours, I find them boring. After chasing wealth, I find that what I’ve gained doesn’t satisfy. These things are good in moderation, but overindulgence makes the desired loathsome. There is a distinct reason one of the wealthiest men in history said ‘the man who dies rich, dies disgraced.’ Constant sex eventually becomes mundane, drugs tear our bodies apart, rich foods become as disinteresting as stale bread. The promise of indulgence simply isn’t true.
There is another way.
Its figurehead tells us to do without, and make do with meager fare. He does not promise power or wealth or fame. The promise of this man is so much different than what the world promises.
The man I speak of is Christ, and he promises an entirely new way of life. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus lifts up the two greatest commandments; love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor. This is what the church offers; a place where wealth and fame and all other forms of worldly glory burn away.
We are all one in Christ Jesus. This relationship with God burns, but does not consume. The Kingdom of God promises an entirely different way of living in the world, one that brings me real satisfaction. Hoarding money doesn’t bring joy, sharing it does. I’m a Christian because I have seen the promises of indulgence fail me and those around me over and over. ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’
Paul Drees Rosenwinkel is a student at Luther Theological Seminary. He enjoys playing banjo, bike commuting, and cribbage with his partner, Addie. He will someday tweet from @RevRosenwinkel.