Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Jane Austen on Youth Ministry

In the recent issue of Touchstone Magazine, Eleanor Donlon wrote an article entitled "No Plain Jane." In the article Donlon decries the Hollywood movie Becoming Jane. Becoming Jane is a biographical depiction of Jane Austen, author of the famous Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Rather than present the period piece according to period propriety ("Regency style" in Donlon's words), the director "sexed up" or "grunged up" Jane's life to appeal to a modern audience. The real Jane Austen would not workshop well among moderns.

Donlon provides a keen insight about how Jane Austen's culture gets lost in translation and which complements a previous post on youth ministry:
"[Jane's] life, letters, early writing, and general demeanor demonstrate a maturity and poise completely foreign to our expectation of a “teenager.” That’s the real problem. We have invented a false category of person—the “teenager”—who has the rights and “needs” of an adult but is not expected to behave as an adult, and who is expected to make all sorts of embarrassing and sometimes harmful mistakes."
Perhaps Jane Austen would've made a great youth minister.

1 comment:

Ministry Addict said...

The prophet Joel had a message from God, and it was not restricted to certain age groups. In Joel 2:15-16, God called the most serious kind of church service there was, and nobody was to be left out. From senior citizens, to children, to little babies, to young adults of marrying age, He wanted everybody present.

Joel didn’t even kowtow to the religious leaders of his day. “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” (Joel 2:17)

When God’s people go astray, they need to be cleansed before they are restored. This is because God loves His people, but His chief concern is for His own name. God alone is worthy of praise and worship, and for Him to seek glory for any other – even His beloved creations - would be a form of idolatry.

Let us pray that we never send a message to our children, or to any group of our church family, that our comfort, our convenience, or our own concerns are to be sought above God’s Own glory.