I do not know if people find the above comforting or see it as a threat. I hope everyone can take that as a comforting, assuring words from God that with Him, we have something to rely on.
Over the weekend, I had a long chat with Aunty Lyza and we exchanged opinions on how to deal with teenagers and young adults who seek some form of assurances from us (mothers but strangers to them)related to religion. Aunty Lyza recently met a very troubled teenage girl who felt strongly about turning to Christianity, against her family wishes.
Both Aunty Lzya and I are Catholic converts, meaning that previously, we were either Buddhist, Hindu or Taoist. Therefore, we know the sensitivities and hurdles involved when we decided to turn to Christianity. Both of us converted after we were married and of a mature age to make the decision.
Therefore, what do we do when faced with teenagers who feel strongly about becoming a Christian? In my personal opinion and approach, I would tell them to take things slowly and not to rush headlong into religion against their families wishes.
Firstly, it will cause tremendous rift in the relationship between the teenage and his/her family. At this point in their life, this is not a wise thing to do. Study hard and concentrate on whatever they are expected to do.
Secondly, most teenagers may embraced Christianity whole-heartedly because it offers them a sense of belonging and a great community to turn to. It fills the void in their lives. However, are they ready to accept Christ and follow His Word? Though it may seems fun to be part of the youth group (Hey, Christian youths are fun people, ok? Not like what some of you guys think, ok?), are they into it for the fun or for the real meaning of being a Christian?
Thirdly, it is certainly not very wise for anyone of us in trying to convert a teenager unless we are very sure that it receives the blessing of his/her family. Though many troubled teenagers have found their guiding light after turning to Christianity but I feel it best to leave them to seek their own destiny.
Two years ago, during my baptism at Easter, one of my RCIA mate, Jennifer has a daugther who was in Form Two who wanted to be baptised along with her mother. Our parish priest advised Jennifer against it as he felt that being a Catholic girl may pose some problems for her daughter in future. (Catholics are expected to be married to Catholics, ideally.) The young girl insisted on baptism and was baptised. When I met her daughter recently, she is now so happy to be part of our church Shalom working youth group. So, religion has done good on a lot of young people.
As for someone’s question – Please tell your friend not to feel burdened and pressured in trying to be a Christian. Tell her that it is ok for her to obey her parents for the time being. It doesn’t matter if she can’t fulfil all the things expected from a Christian. If she is meant to be a Christian, God will find a way for her and bring helpful people to encourage her in the proper way.
As for joss-sticks – Do you know that I do burn joss-sticks at funerals, lift them high and call on my God to bless the soul of the deceased person? The joss-stick, in my eye as a Catholic, is mere fragrance.
*Expect more posts on religion because this is the Holy Week, a countdown to Good Friday and Easter. But, I will post my regular blogs too.*