You didn’t misread that, I didn’t say irrelevant, I said RELEVANT. We’ve taken a historic, 2,000 year old faith, dressed it in plaid and skinny jeans and tried to sell it as “cool” to our kids. It’s not cool. It’s not modern. What we’re packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world we’re called to evangelize.
As the quote says, “When the ship is in the ocean, everything’s fine. When the ocean gets into the ship, you’re in trouble.”
I’m not ranting about “worldliness” as some pietistic bogeyman, I’m talking about the fact that we yawn at a 5-minute biblical text, but almost trip over ourselves fawning over a minor celebrity or athlete who makes any vague reference to being a Christian.
We’re like a fawning wanna-be just hoping the world will think we’re cool too, you know, just like you guys!
Our kids meet the real world and our “look, we’re cool like you” posing is mocked. In our effort to be “like them” we’ve become less of who we actually are. The middle-aged pastor trying to look like his 20-something audience isn’t relevant. Dress him up in skinny jeans and hand him a latte, it doesn’t matter. It’s not relevant, It’s comically cliché. The minute you aim to be “authentic”, you’re no longer authentic!
The up-and-coming generation do not want guitars and felt banners. The do not seek accommodation with a world that has always seemed at best nonsensical and at worst vindictively hostile. “Connecting with the youth” does not mean affecting the trappings of youth culture from fifty years ago.
The grandchildren whose futures their elders preemptively foreclosed on want–need–structure and legitimate authority. They are not obsessed with novelty for novelty’s sake. Their ambition is not to break the rules, for there are no rules left to break. They would prefer fire and brimstone, millstones, and “Suffer not a witch to live.”
They are starved for truth and beauty. The Church has a rare chance to induct these restless, questing youth into mysteries that will at long last explain them to themselves. God is opening the door to a potential Christian moment in America. The Church’s leaders have only to wake up and fulfill their solemn office.
There is evidence that the younger generations are taking the initiative and turning to Christ despite His ministers’ best efforts to alienate them. Then again, the picture may not be as rosy as some suggest. The health of American Christianity is a complex and multifaceted issue.
To all priests and pastors: Your duty is to hand on the two millennia-old Deposit of Faith as you and your fathers before you received it. Do not be a stumbling block. Let the children come to Him.
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