The following were my last formal ministerial words as a youth minister, delivered at last night's End-of-Year Youth Banquet:
On Wednesday night, I was using movies, poems, music, and novels to illustrate the basic theological themes that have guided my ministry here. I want to call you back to the image from Les Miserables. Valjean has stolen the bishop's silver, yet the bishop protects Valjean and gives him even more silver. This is the essence of what it means to be a Christian. As I have said, the purpose of youth ministry is not to create polite citizens. The purpose of youth ministry is to create radicals. Because Christianity is not about a list of things to do or not do; it is not about rules. Christianity is about completely and radically re-shaping community.
So, this is where the great adventure myths come in. Because the one virtue most needed is courage. Faith, hope, and love are only platitudes and sentiments without courage.
Therefore, my benediction to you all is: be not afraid. May you have the courage to live as Jesus--to live as a radical.