(Two things, yes I have my mom's friend as my friend on Facebook, and this lady has never NOT posted a religious post. Whatever floats her boat.)
I really did want to comment on this, but my compulsion to please my mother won, and I did not. But I did read the article. (Here it is.) For a genre of writing I can only classify as right-leaning, this was refreshingly balanced.
But I can sum up why young Christians leave the church in a much more technological and charismatic way:
The movie "Saved!"
If you aren't familiar with this movie, check out their IMDB page here or turn on USA network any given Saturday...it's usually on.
I know my mother wouldn't agree with me on my opinion, but I lived it and I find the movie "Saved!" to be more documentary than fictional script.
I was in a church group much like that of the girls in this film, only the church I attended didn't have a school. If they had, I'm sure I would have gone to it. I continued on in college in a church group.
And hey, just for the record, I don't think church groups are bad. I think sometimes the kids that emerge as the leaders get it wrong. But they're kids and that's what kids do.
Aside from the whole getting pregnant to save her gay boyfriend angle of the script (and actually, the way they portrayed that, I can totally see actually happening to some poor confused Christian girl), this movie was my life. Well, in vague scenes and emotions. We had a Hilary Faye. We had a Pastor Skip. We even had a Dean.
But we didn't have credits at the end of our scenes. Life just went on.
|God called them to judge others for him.|
The reason young Christians leave the church isn't the constraints put on science or sexuality. It's the fed-upness with self-righteous behavior. We just can't stand the hypocrisy any longer.
There were times in my life that I'd see a girl Saturday night cry and give a heartfelt speech at a youth group getaway about how she had seen the light and everyone else should too, and then Monday afternoon, sneak off to have sinner sex with her boyfriend.
Hey, I get it. Christians aren't perfect; just forgiven. Too bad those girls didn't have that attitude when they found out something "sinner-like" about another girl in our group and basically shame her into talking about it. You can't be Jesus' servant on Saturday and the Whore of Babylon on Monday. Or, in other words, I wouldn't be calling for the gravel truck to make a delivery while you're in your glass hut close to the road.
My good friend J is a pastor and she provides some great insight into the realness of Christianity. "Jesus wants Fruits of the Spirit, not religious nuts." This was once on her Facebook wall. Amen, sister.
In what's quickly becoming my favorite verse, Matthew 6:5 says "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." Every time I go into a hand-waving church, this radiates in my mind. If they're truly feeling it, awesome. But I suspect that 95% of the people doing it are only doing it because the threat of a public church flogging.
Larry Potter provided me with the perfect life lesson of religion about a year ago. We were saying prayers at bedtime and he told me that he didn't want to be a Christian. I asked him why. It turns out he told his then-favorite joke to an adult close to him. The joke? It goes like this:
Hey, what's under there? [pointing]
Ha ha! You said "underwear!"
The adult close to him said, "I don't think that's funny because I'm a Christian."
And to a cerebral 7-year-old boy who likes underwear and farting jokes, religion was then over. Why bother if this is the way it has to be?
I tend to agree.
As I understand it, Heaven isn't about who did the most extra credit on earth. There will not be two sections of Heaven; "Christians" and "Advanced Christians" when we get there. No AP credit will be given.
It's a matter of suffocation. If young Christians can't breathe where they are, then they will leave. It's not about loving God less, it's about living up to the impossible standard by some of His most outspoken followers. Standards even those outspoken ones can't follow all the time. But only when these people fall do they suddenly learn compassion. It makes me mad.
(Which is why nothing makes me smile harder than a Family Values Republican with a recently outed gay lover. I shouldn't derive so much pleasure from that. I'm working on it.)
Maybe if the writers of that article looked a little less at statistics and a little more at themselves and the judgement going on at their churches, the answers would be a little clearer.
At least from my personal experience.