EDITOR’S DESK: Baker youth groups keep the faith (VIDEO)

Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 10:53 AM.

Do something. That's the simple name of two North Okaloosa church groups' collaborative effort to help the community.

A simple name, but it means much more than you might think.

Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church and Shady Grove Assembly of God youth groups — along with volunteers from Mount Repose Baptist Church in Ohio and West Haven Baptist Church in Tennessee — have teamed up this week to live the gospel.

Their ministry amounts to 200 youths repairing homes at eight Baker work sites and presenting backyard Bible clubs.

And it's not easy work.

These kids are digging drainage ditches, painting homes and repairing roofs, among other things.

Yes, they're getting off the couch and away from computers, tablets and video games, and helping others. But the camp's name isn't just telling teens, "Hey, think of others for a change" or "Step outside yourself" — admittedly, that's my first thought when I see the name; after all, we've all become so isolated as technology allows us to purchase and do everything online; even when we go to a store, self-checkouts allow us to stay in isolation.

And I doubt anyone participating in this camp would have a problem with thinking of others anyway. Such community service projects usually attract highly motivated, giving spirits.

Rather — or perhaps, in addition — the camp's name comes from James 2:14-26, a Bible passage that culminates with, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."

Contemporary Christian singer Rich Mullins once sang about that. In "Screen Door," he says, "Faith without works is like a song you can't sing / It's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine."

The song points out that Christians live out their faith by modeling Jesus Christ's example.

Basically, you can say you're Christian, but like the song says, "Faith without works, baby / It just ain't happenin'."

It goes hand in hand with the Rev. Mark Broadhead's message in our weekend edition.

"People will look at what is happening in the world and ask, 'Why doesn’t God do something?' Why doesn’t God do something to feed those starving children in Africa, to intervene and stop bloodshed in the Middle East, to end the spread of AIDS and other dreaded diseases, to alleviate pain and suffering?'" he said.

The point was that God already did something: The faithful believe that their creator instilled in everyone free will to choose good over evil and blessed them with the capacity to help others or be selfish.

Sometimes, I become jaded; even cynical.

I see adults preying on children

I see the cesspool that is pop culture; 4-year-olds sticking their tongues out and twerking like Miley Cyrus. Teenagers teaching them how to do this. (And yes, this was in one of our local communities, last weekend.)

I see their future if these are their role models.

I see how people will do anything — anything — for a buck. Placing money over love, feeling worthless based on their bank balance, and even killing for money.

I see political divisions that turn neighbors into enemies who can't see beyond the -D or -R labels they envision on the other's head. 

And then I wonder if there's any hope.

What's the use?

Then my brother, Frederick ("Father Fred" to most people) tells me to look for the Christ, or the goodness, in others.

It may seem like a hopeless cause, or like the whole world's going to hell in a hand basket, but regardless of what people believe, or how they behave, you can always find the beauty; the divinity. Hope.

Sometimes, you don't have to look too far.    

That was the case Monday night, when I read intern Robin Andrew's story about a group of North Okaloosa teenagers teaming up with two churches from other states to repair homes for people like Navy veteran George Dean.

This week, Baker youth groups are certainly keeping the faith.

What's your view? Write a letter to the editor or tweet News Bulletin Editor Thomas Boni.

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