What does it mean to be a young Baptist today? I am sure the answer to this question has changed throughout the decades and depends on a myriad of factors. As for me, this question seems a bit loaded and to answer it would require reflection on my own worldview.
For instance, my life has been influenced by the fall of the Berlin Wall, two Gulf Wars, the rise of the Internet, the Columbine High School shootings, September 11th, the AIDS pandemic, and the dissolving of most of the world’s great “–isms” (denominationalism, nationalism, communism, etc).
You may be asking yourself, what does any of this have to do with being a young Baptist? Well, it has quite a lot to do with it. Did you notice the “Controversy” has not been a major factor in shaping my life? I am fairly confident I am not the only current Baptist seminarian to make this claim. On the contrary, I will be the first to say I respect those who were involved in this bitter struggle and it is because of their sacrifice I am able to study my faith in a true Baptist tradition. Therefore, now is the time to stand on their shoulders and continue to do the work of the church within the blanket of freedom they have provided.
For the majority of young Baptists today, the fight is no longer about “who we are” but about “what are we going to do.” We have been shaped by a world that is not quite as cut and dry as it use to be. In fact our world is one that is constantly changing and in order to keep up we can’t simply argue the semantics of our faith within our own closed circles. Our culture and society is forcing us to branch out of the places of our religious comfort. To be young and Baptist today is to actively seek positive change, promote justice, and to be the grace of Christ in a world that appears just too busy to care.