“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example for the believer i in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
This was probably one of the first scripture passages I memorized; many young people commit the verse to heart. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” is another version.
And yet here is a sign I saw the other day while touring Texas Wesleyan in preparation for JYMO. Technically the signage belongs to the United Methodist Church (and NOT to Texas Wesleyan, I think) that is on the campus. It seemed fairly obvious to me that this sign, and the one at the other end of the area served primarily to reserve some parking for church business and activities. Who could have a complaint against this?
Yet, are students really the only people the church ought to be concerned about taking their parking? Sure, TWU has 2200 students on campus (plus another 800 at their law school downtown), but such a school must also have at least 100 faculty members and several hundred additional staff. All these people get a free pass to disrupt church parking?
I’m reminded of the opportunity I had, more than 20 years ago now, to point out to my seminary, Asbury (Wilmore -though at the time Asbury had no Orlando campus) that their campus bookstore offered discounts to almost everyone who would shop there – faculty, staff, alumni – except current students. So the “young,” most of whom were racking up student loans in the process, were subsidizing discounts for the employed. (The VP for Finance told me on the day I graduated that this practice was being changed)
I understand places want to claim some control over their parking, or offer discounts to attract business, but could we (in the Church, at least) set an example and NOT identify the young, or the student (who, honestly, aren’t as young as they used to be), and those whom we intentionally restrict?