Youthful Idealism Is Not Dead – just look at my MySpace page!


I scroll the images of my [MySpace] ‘friends’ to the centre of my screen and what I see, quite frankly, is an image of the Kingdom of God!

Youthful idealism isn’t dead. It’s just become less tangible!

Here I was, wondering whatever happened to the energetic idealism of the Vietnam days, when young people hoped and dreamt and sang of a better world, when all of a sudden I discovered that same spirit of youthful optimism alive and well where I least expected it – embedded on myMySpace page!

As I’ve watched the years tick by and seen contemporary youth culture give birth to absolutely nothing of an inspirational nature, I’d just come to assume (along with everybody else my age) that today’s young people are simply hopeless – lazy and self-obsessed, too busy with their ipods and too bored with their studies, full of themselves and empty of ideals, selfish, garish, insensitive, outspoken, overstimulated and undermotivated, full of potential but with nowhere to direct it, But I was wrong, and the evidence is all there, indelibly etched into virtual space.

Just look at the messages that have been left for me from my MySpace Friends’.

  • Gabriel says, ‘God bless you in your walk with Christ’
  • Dennis says, ‘Smile big, live strong, trust God’
  • Raheel says simply, ‘Be Love!’
  • Even my teenage daughter has left a comment: ‘loving your pimped out myspace dad…way cool..’ (OK, that’s not quite as idealistic, but I couldn’t leave it out)

At any rate, there’s another guy on my page who is giving out virtual hugs! There’s a young Islamic girl there, trying to make herself understood to her non-Islamic peers. There’s dozens of young Christian people filling my page with icons and images and messages of peace and goodwill, and yes it’s all a bit glib and a bit syrupy and very overly optimistic, but isn’t that just what we need in this world at the moment – an unpolluted spirit of hope? Indeed, when the Lord Jesus told us that we all needed to become like little children, isn’t that what He had in mind?

I scroll the images of my ‘friends’ to the centre of my screen and what I see, quite frankly, is an image of the Kingdom of God!

I see a great swell of smiling faces – male and female, young and old, black and whilte, some hip and beautiful, some shy and still beautiful. I see a modest Islamic girl in her hijab. I see a tough-looking African-American guy in his army helmet. There’s an orthodox Jew there reading his Scriptures, and an orphanage full of children waving to me from Uganda. Through the magic of the Internet, all these characters are sharing smiles and messages of goodwill as they mingle happily alongside eachother.

Of course, it’s not like that in the ,‘real world, and outside of MySpace, these people aren’t really‘friends’. Even so, the image I see beckoning to me from cyberspace is an image of what I believe the world will one day become, when that great and glorious day dawns, ‘when the earth shall be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’.

In the meantime, my MySpace page testifies to the fact that there are still a vast group of young persons out there who are trying to reach out in love to people they don’t even know! And while it may be all a bit too virtual at the moment, even so, it is a wonderful reflection of the light shining in the darkness

Rev. David B. Smith

Parish priest, community worker,
martial arts master, pro boxer,
author, father of four.


About Father Dave

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four
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