We Make Young Liberals Nervous
The larger church – and certainly the liberal church – has been getting crushed by media stories and critiques for years now. That’s not news. Every time, a right-wing fundamentalist church does something heinous (see previous blog), liberal Christians feel the beating just as much. Every time, an atheist cites some extremist point of view and treats it as representative, our reputation takes the tarnishing. It’s little remembered, that liberal ministers helped bolster the Occupy movement in New York, or that church, for all that their numbers are dwindling, still marshal the largest relief efforts when disaster strikes.
A news article from The Week cites these three reasons why young people are drifting away from God. First, the right-wing extremists are turning them off: if they want to do good, these days, young liberal-leaning North Americans can find plenty of institutions (without the stain of homophobia, for instance) to be a channel for their charity. Secondly, the article suggests, atheists such as Christopher Hitchens, with his eloquent writing voice and great talent for saying pithy things on demand, took the stage and did a fine job selling their point of view. And third, the article suggests, is Liberal attacks on religion, that Christianity is a religion against which people feel free to voice their criticisms, or direct their mocking jokes. (Here’s the article if you would like a closer look: http://theweek.com/article/index/229276/3-reasons-young-americans-are-giving-up-on-god)
What’s the solution? Well, we have to change the message, and somehow remove that scary taint from our rep. Easier said than done. But for starters, it means being extremely clear about what we believe (and very vocal about what we don’t.) Perhaps that’s a question we should be taking to the youth in our church: ask them what draws them to the church, and what pushes them away? I have no doubt we’d learn from their answers.
Date: June 22, 2012