I have grown weary of the stereotypes and false representation of my generation—a generation that (believe it or not) gives me great hope.
Let me introduce you to some of my twentysomething friends: Analisa teaches on a Navajo reservation, Kathy teaches learning disabled children in Chicago public schools, and Michael is studying for his doctorate in American history and gay studies. Amy, a full-time volunteer for Bread for the City and Zaccheus Free Clinic in Washington, D.C., loved it so much she extended her one-year term for another year of (yes) service.
Andrea is in medical school and Mike is a stellar graphic artist. Angela has a golden voice and a passion for AIDS education; Karen was so inspired by Mother Teresa that she traveled to India to meet and work with her.
I am proud of my friends and the things we are doing. Most of us would not call ourselves "religious" because that label carries with it images of exclusion and pain. We would instead claim a spirituality that manifests itself in varied shapes and forms.
I have often described my faith as a love-hate relationship. From a young age, I have had many questions. I learned from my parents an image of God as love. Disillusionment with the church came when I did not see that love being put into practice.
Several women professors and counselors at Goshen College gave me new eyes to see my faith struggle as a gift instead of the burden that I was ready to throw away. My questions, anger, and frustration were met with understanding and empathy, not alarm or condemnation. Instead of answers, they gave me tools to begin the journey on my own.
I am learning my search is a continual process. However, I am not bitter. I am excited for the future as, to quote the Indigo Girls, "I wrap my fears around me like a blanket." And I look to my friends for inspiration.