Growing up in rural Wisconsin exposed me to ubiquitous farming-based idioms, such as “Chickens come home to roost.” While it was common knowledge that chickens usually come home to rest and sleep, the first documented figurative use of the phrase was by Robert Southey, in 1809, in The Curse of Kehama, “Curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost.” The consequences of our wrongdoing will always catch up with us.
This week, several politicians in LA learned the meaning of that axiom when a recording of their power grab boundary manipulation meeting that included racist rants was leaked. While the Labor president, Herrera, and the City Council president, Martinez, have resigned, the public protests will continue until Cedillo and de León also resign. They are learning a biblical truth, “The words that come out of your mouth come from your heart.” (Matthew 15:18, Contemporary English Version); what we say and how we act reveals the purity or the depravity of our hearts.
The Church in the modern era is complaining that the younger generation is not religious, as if something is wrong with the young. However, the truth may be that the Church’s young chickens have come home to roost. The vilest malediction unleashed from the pulpits upon those who disagreed with the hypocritical self-righteousness of the Church, including the vaticination of eternal damnation, exposes the ersatz of the reprehensible debased tirades guised as the teachings of God’s Word.
The racist rants and hate language hurled against the LGBT+ community and condemnation of those who, in faith, exercised their God-given reproductive rights have exposed the pettiness and outdatedness of the Church, and the younger generation is distancing themselves from their childhood religious institutions. However, it is also clear that young people are extremely spiritual and do not walk away from God. They are seeking more pure expressions of their faith; they are looking for faith in action, not words.
Young chickens have come to roost. The younger generation is showing us faith is not a verbal exercise of doctrinal assent but a sacred journey of the heart. The younger generation is disgusted with the Church’s non-biblical selective love, the love only for the members of their sect, and its rejection of the truth of the Scripture, God, loves all people. They are demanding that the Church live out its claim of belief in the Bible and live out the truth of the sacred text, the love of God for all people.
The rejection of the Christian façade, the fallacious and delusive claim of membership into an exclusive club through few meaningless words, by the younger generation is finally being noticed, but it may be too late for the Church as a religious institution. The faith in Jesus is not in danger of extinction, but it may be the beginning of another Reformation.
For Martin Luther, it was the phrase, “the righteous shall live by faith,” but for the new generation, it may be, “The faith of the righteous shall be judged by their lives.”
The young chickens are coming home to roost. The questions for the Church are: Will we repent of our sins, ask forgiveness from the young, and change our ways? Or will we continue to be “stiff-necked” people and, in arrogance and defiance, dare God to unleash the anger of heaven upon us as was done upon Sodom and Gomorrah? How long will we grieve the heaven by our pharisaic claim of God’s favor when God’s anointing may have been removed long ago? How long will we worship the golden calf and claim it will lead us to the promised land?
The young chickens have come home to roost, and the pandemic has revealed that the institution of the Church will have to change. The current political climate has shown us that the Christian religion has been co-opted by xenophobic bigots and is being manipulated by the power-hungry, money-grubbing, duplicitous degenerates.
Those who claim no religious affiliation and live out their faith in loving communities with mindfulness are showing us the Way. Just as the new followers of a new prophet, Jesus and his Way rejected the hypocrisy of the Pharisees 2000 years ago, just as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others have demanded reforms from the Church in the 16th century, in the 21t century, we are once again seeing the younger generation calling for moral correction of the Church. This is the new Reformation. The young chickens have come home to roost.