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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

30 May 2018: Jon Piper, Hope Church

Teenager Pigeons

There’s an apple tree in my garden where pigeons are nesting. I know people hate pigeons, but they make me smile. I think their slightly dim-witted lack of social awareness is endearing. Also, I like their wide-eyed, waddling, silly walks.

I was working next to my open back door in summer last year and a pigeon strolled in (on a quest to find food for its chicks) I admired its pragmatism and laughed at its lack of understanding. I also chased it away.

Although it might seem strange to us, Jesus describes God as caring for ‘birds of the air’, including these dim-witted pigeons. It’s part of his fatherly care that he provides for even the most irritating parts of his creation.
As well as looking at pigeons, I also work at the King’s Arms Youth Centre in Petersfield. Adolescence is a strange feature of human development where children’s brains grow incredibly quickly into adult ones. I witness that growth daily in many young people and am often reminded that this growth includes what we might call a ‘pigeon phase’. This is the point when a teenager is growing at full-tilt neurologically and the result is often a slightly dim-witted appearance, a vague grasp on social-awareness and even a funny walk.

It is not uncommon to see these teenager-pigeons making poor choices: equivalent to walking through an unfamiliar, open back door. In our culture, these choices are often around sex and relationships, drug misuse or their online presence.

As adults, and particularly Christian ones, I believe that our role is to point our young people to the caring provision from Father God. His love and care for each of us should be evident in our own patience, kindness and provision for our young people, even in their temporary pigeon phase, before they become adult hawks or hummingbirds!

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