At the youth/university ministry stage of life, one of the toughest pastoral issues to tackle is travel.
It’s almost expected that at some point you’ll take a ‘gap year’ — or month — and travel overseas, probably to Europe and/or the UK (Natalie has often pointed out that it’s funny that the UK feels like the ‘ancestral homeland’ for so many Australians — no matter what our actual ethnicity). And there’s lots to embrace about this — travelling can be fantastic. And, apart from increasingly prominent environmental/peak oil concerns, with our unprecedented resources and opportunities the question is often, ‘Why not?’
Still, I’ve often struggled to know what to say to someone who bounds up to me and says, ‘I’m going overseas!’:
- On the one hand, my problem is that I’ve seen, sometimes at painfully close proximity, how heading off on your big adventure can be spiritually disastrous. Really. I’m not kidding.
- But on the other, I’ve discovered that there are few better ways to harden someone in their resolve to disappear overseas than hitting them with, ‘Oooh… Really? Travel can be really bad for your spiritual health. Maybe you should reconsider’, or words to that effect. People usually just want you to share in their excitement.
Justin’s recent series really nicely balances sharing the enthusiasm and raising the real concerns.
And if you’re already heading off overseas, it’s definitely worth checking out Craig and Walshy’s site. It’s got some great resources — and stories!