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The Youth Movement, Part Three The Idea
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THE YOUTH MOVEMENT, PART THREE THE IDEA
After I read the Song of Solomon, I started feeling tired and ready to go to sleep. I started to get up to turn off my bedroom light when I heard a knock at the door. "Come in," I called.
Arthur and Mardi pushed open my door. "Hi, Vinnie," they said.
"Hey, guys," I said. "I was just about to go to bed. What's up?"
"We noticed you were kind of sulking all day after church," Arthur said.
"And we know Reverend Bowmer was mean to you for talking to Phyllis, but we thought maybe it was also because we embarrassed you about your picture of Phyllis on the wall," Mardi chimed in. "I'm sorry for teasing you, Vinnie." She walked up to me and put her arms around me. Mardi has always seen me as her hero, and she looks up to me a lot. I hate to brag, but I think I'm her favorite brother.
I hugged her back and said, "It's all right, Mardi."
"I'm sorry, too, man," Arthur said. "I didn't mean to make you mad or embarrass you."
I smiled. "It's all right, you guys," I said. "I didn't have a bad day because of your teasing. I know we sometimes tease each other, because we're siblings. It's our job." I chuckled, then got serious and sighed. "It's Reverend Bowmer. You know, I really don't know why he had such a problem with me talking to Phyllis today. He knows I'd never hurt her or take advantage of her." I sighed again. "I guess he's just grown extra protective and strict because he lost his wife and worries about her and James more." I sat down on my bed.
"Do you think that's why he has all those rules for everyone in church?" Mardi asked. "Like, don't dress casually, and men can't have hair any shorter than up to their ears?"
I have to admit I violated that rule. My dark hair comes down to the bottom of my neck, but I wear my hair in a ponytail that's so small that he doesn't even notice it's a ponytail. "Well, I don't know if protectiveness accounts for that," I told her. "I think it's just moralism and legalism on his part."
"What's moralism? What's legalism?" Mardi asked me, sitting beside me and leaning her head on my shoulder.
"Well, moralism and legalism are when people try to make up their own rules about what's right and wrong, even making up things that God's Word does not forbid and trying to say those things are wrong when God gives no indication that they are--basically adding to God's rules. People who are legalistic and moralistic probably think it brings it closer to God when they set up those strict rules, but it doesn't. Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus, not moralism or legalism."
Suddenly an idea came to me. What if I could remind Reverend Bowmer of what Christianity is really about? I could gather the youth from our church together--the youth, who all have childlike faith that doesn't require any legalism or moralism--to remind the reverend, and we could do a play that shows how it's God's grace, not legalism or moralism, that makes Christianity what it is!
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