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October 11, 2014

The Amazing Youth

I have been so heartened by observing the special youth in the news this week. This morning I listened to the Nobel Acceptance Speech by Mahala Yousafzai, the seventeen year old Pakastani who has been speaking out about the rights of women to be educated in her country and around the world. I saw her first on the John Stewart show and was very impressed. What an amazing journey for one so young -- and what intelligence and bravery in the face of those who are threatened by her message and tried to assassinate her making it impossible for her family to return to their homeland.

I also listened this past week to Emma Watson, the beautiful young woman who plays Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, as she appeared before the United Nations as the Women's Goodwill Ambassador. Her speech on gender equality was moving and smart -- not surprising since she is a recent graduate from Brown University. It is impressive that she continued her education while she was growing up in the wake of such fortune and is now using her fame for some larger world cause. It certainly speaks well of her.

On Sunday I watched Bellingham High School student, Lucy Evans, speak to a group about her decision last spring to organize a march of BHS youth stand up against gun violence. She led over 100 students through the town and spoke to the mayor and politicians about the absurdity of the lack of appropriate gun laws and the right of youth to go to school without fearing that they may be shot by some person who should never have been able to buy guns in the first place. She reminded the American politicians that it is their job to protect their citizens. She was eloquent and very impressive.

Last night I was at the Pickford Theater for a special showing of "The Skeleton Twins" written and produced by Craig Johnson who grew up and was nurtured in our church and in our town. It is a sensitive and bittersweet film about a brother and sister who had a difficult youth and were struggling with their lives separate from each other until they meet once again and poignantly remember what family is all about. The showing was a benefit for Children's Literacy and Craig happily answered questions about the making of this, his second film. Craig has been all over the world talking about his film, but this particular audience was filled with friends and family who watched him grow up and pursue his dream which began in our church as part of the Joy Jesters mime group, in elementary school when he played a 6th grade MacBeth, in high school with Terry Grimes (an amazing drama teacher), in the Bellingham Theater Guild, in the University of Washington and Seattle theater, and finally to NY where he received a Masters' Degree in film. Most of the people in the audience have watched his journey with love and can only be impressed to see such success.

As a senior citizen, I am heartened by these young people who are speaking up for the less fortunate and spreading the good news whether it be the need for our citizens to insist on equal rights for others or reminding us all that relationships matter. At church lately, I witnessed Sarah, an impressive young woman, lead our very diverse search committee to the wonderful conclusion to call a new pastor (another impressive young woman) to our church. And, I shed tears while another spoke from the pulpit during a stewardship talk and bravely admit she found our church family when she was very depressed, and it was a lifeline for her. She was inviting others to share in the good news by giving our resources to an amazing community.

I think I can honestly say, with people of this caliber taking their turn to lead our town, our state, our country, and our world, we have nothing to worry about.

Posted by Marilyn at October 11, 2014 8:29 AM


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