Letter to the Reader – From the Preface
This was never meant to be a book. I was just writing, really just journaling to help me process my own challenges along life’s faith journey. Looking back, I see the many questions, the many times I had lost my way. What helped me find the path again? What kept me plodding on when the light seemed so dim? My journaling helped me keep my head above the waters; helped me refocus on the distant shore and it helped me find the life rafts that were available. Having dedicated my career to helping young people find this path that does lead to life, that does give strength in the storms that threaten to overwhelm, it was only logical to try to apply the lessons that I was learning. How can my generation help the one following? What enables some to thrive as true disciples of Jesus Christ as they leave the protective environment of home, church and / or Christian School? What was lacking for the many who stumbled? What enables some to return at a later date?
My journaling birthed into a booklet when I encountered the Bible’s overarching cosmic story in a radically new way; no longer just a series of stories, no longer a book of mini-devotionals and lesson plans but a Kingdom Story that grabbed the imagination and touched the heart in a deeper way. This WOW experience provided the energy and the passion needed to embark on this new writing path. How many of our young people, how many of my own generation, are missing out because they lack a piece of the puzzle, the piece that completes the whole?
Having to process life as curriculum, it was only natural for me to think of all the related questions to these concerns. The attempt at organizing my many journal entries led to the discovery of the five complimentary themes. This fivefold foundation formed the backbone of this endeavor. No longer a booklet, it has now become a book that seems to promise encouragement for fellow travellers needing to gain more confidence for the faith journey.
As I read and reread this book I do recognize the many growth experiences of my last several decades. This book is, to a large part, the product of the many opportunities that my career at Cedars Christian School provided me. I am so very grateful to this wonderful community of faith where robust learning and a reaching for a higher bar was a way of life for students and staff alike.
I am thankful for the many 24/7 class trips I made as a teacher. These experiences repeatedly caused me to process the bigger issues of life with young people embarking on life’s journey. Thanks to these teens (now young adults) who encouraged me to think more deeply. All of these school trips were to cross cultural settings, either to the slums of Northern Mexico or to Eastside Vancouver, Canada’s poorest postal code (sponsored by Youth with a Mission). In such cross-cultural settings one does learn to look more critically and hopefully more constructively at one’s own culture and subculture. This increased sensitivity to the blind spots in one’s community, and hopefully also to those in our own personal lives, is such a critical first step in any growth.
This book is offered to fellow travellers, particularly young adults who are struggling to make sense of life and faith in the context of a very challenging culture. This book is offered with the prayer that God the Spirit would provide fellow travellers with the WOW encounters with truth that do put it sufficiently together to enable a more confident moving forward on life’s faith journey.
My journaling has morphed into a “travel guide” for young people leaving home, leaving high school. Too many are adding “Leaving the church, leaving the faith” to that list as well. My goal has been to encourage these young people, our leaders of tomorrow, the parents of tomorrow, to take care so that the faith issues do not get lost in all the packing and leaving and the setting up of new pads all their own.