Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Youth and Religion

The Washington Times had an article yesterday about a new report from the Brookings Institution about the youngest generation and how it relates to religion, entitled "OMG! How Generation Y is Redefining Faith in the iPod Era." You can see the actual study here. Discussion on this topic has spread through the SoCal Alliance like wildfire. Dawn's Early Light was first, followed closely by Sheep's Crib.

While this data is important, things like this always give me a "check in my spirit." Sheep's Crib has real wisdom when he says,
My warning to those whom God calls to directly engage "Gen Y" is to avoid novelty at the expense of the Word who took on flesh and dwelt among us.
Amen and amen. Can we really "redefine faith?" After all, the object of faith is unchangable. When we start redefining things we usually just get lost.

Dawn's Early Light summarizes the reports closing observations this way:

  1. There are no silver bullets - old school methods of building community will not work with Generation Y.
  2. Support experimentation - To reach Generation Y, non traditional methods of creating community are necessary.
  3. The Power of Culture - Music, DVDs, film and the written word are powerful tools for conveying meaning. Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ indie production is an example given.

There are never any 'silver bullets' for anybody. Experimentation, within limits is always a good thing. But here's the thing, I lead a weekly Bible study for a group of "Y'ers." You know when it got good? When I started doing the stuff that I did when I was their age, instead of trying to be up-to-date and "hip."

What I have found is not kids that need new ways to build community, but kids that are starving for it. All my wife and I really needed to do was give them a small taste, then they were addicted. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Finally, I cannot help but reflect on the fact that Jesus came when their was no media. In a very real sense depictions of Jesus in movies, or music, can be substitutes for His actual presence -- thus idols. That is an area where we should proceed with extreme caution. But then Sheep's Crib already said that.


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