… the storms she loved because they were not hers,
There’s nothing like a good thunderstorm from a great view. You see it coming. Take a seat. Take it in.
The “view” changes, however, when you’re trying to drive home during a snowstorm in the East, run for cover from a tornado in the Midwest, or brace for a hurricane in the South. And this seems to be what Christian Wiman suggests in his poem, Revenant – storms enjoyed at safe distances aren’t really storms. They’re experienced as something else.
Youth ministry leaders run the risk of viewing young peoples’ lives this way. Positive views (“You are the hope of the present and future church!”) or negative ones (“You are the leavers, the dones, and the nones!”), actually share same vantage point – distance. Both perceptions are offered from safe places that fail to get close enough to understand young people’s true experiences. As a direct result, youth ministry often remains programmed, theoretical, Pollyanna-ish, distanced.
Distance denies urgency…