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NUMB AND NUMB-ER: Youth and the Church of Benign Whatever- ism.

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Presentation on theme: "NUMB AND NUMB-ER: Youth and the Church of Benign Whatever- ism."— Presentation transcript:

1 NUMB AND NUMB-ER: Youth and the Church of Benign Whatever- ism

2 What first caused you to see your life from God’s side of the clock? Did it happen in the context of a congregation?

3 THE NATIONAL STUDY OF YOUTH AND RELIGION Christian Smith, Soul-Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford 2005) THE NATIONAL STUDY OF YOUTH AND RELIGION Christian Smith, Soul-Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford 2005)

4 Most consistent findings: Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion. Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion.

5 “Most religious communities’ central problem is not teen rebellion, but teenagers’ benign ‘whateverism.’” Christian Smith National Study of Youth and Religion (2005)

6 Most commonly shared findings across contexts: Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion. Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion. Teenagers’ faith mirrors their parents’ faith. Teenagers’ faith mirrors their parents’ faith.

7 Most commonly shared findings across contexts: Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion. Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion. Teenagers’ faith mirrors their parents’ faith. Teenagers’ faith mirrors their parents’ faith. Teenagers are “incredibly inarticulate” about religion Teenagers are “incredibly inarticulate” about religion

8 Most commonly shared findings across contexts: Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion. Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion. Teenagers’ faith mirrors their parents’ faith. Teenagers’ faith mirrors their parents’ faith. Teenagers are “incredibly inarticulate” about religion Teenagers are “incredibly inarticulate” about religion A significant minority claim that religion is important to them and makes a difference in their lives. A significant minority claim that religion is important to them and makes a difference in their lives.

9 Religion is most significant for… Mormon youth Mormon youth Conservative Protestant youth Conservative Protestant youth Black Protestant youth Black Protestant youth Mainline Protestant youth Mainline Protestant youth Catholic youth Catholic youth Jewish youth Jewish youth Non-religious youth Non-religious youth

10 Most commonly shared findings across contexts: Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion. Teenagers aren’t hostile toward religion. Teenagers’ faith mirrors their parents’ faith. Teenagers’ faith mirrors their parents’ faith. Teenagers are “incredibly inarticulate” about religion Teenagers are “incredibly inarticulate” about religion A significant minority claim that religion is important to them and makes a difference in their lives. A significant minority claim that religion is important to them and makes a difference in their lives. Most teenagers adhere to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as their unacknowledged religious creed. Most teenagers adhere to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as their unacknowledged religious creed.

11 Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

12 A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth. A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth.

13 Moralistic Therapeutic Deism A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth. A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth. God wants us to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as most world religions teach. God wants us to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as most world religions teach.

14 Moralistic Therapeutic Deism A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth. A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth. God wants us to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as most world religions teach. God wants us to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as most world religions teach. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.

15 Moralistic Therapeutic Deism A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth. A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth. God wants us to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as most world religions teach. God wants us to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as most world religions teach. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself. God doesn’t need to be involved in my life unless I need God to solve a problem. God doesn’t need to be involved in my life unless I need God to solve a problem.

16 Moralistic Therapeutic Deism A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth. A God exists who created and orders the world, and watches over life on earth. God wants us to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as most world religions teach. God wants us to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as most world religions teach. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself. God doesn’t need to be involved in my life unless I need God to solve a problem. God doesn’t need to be involved in my life unless I need God to solve a problem. Good people go to heaven when they die. Good people go to heaven when they die.

17 Is your church being colonized by Moralistic Therapeutic Deism? Are you a Moralistic Therapeutic Deist? Is your church being colonized by Moralistic Therapeutic Deism? Are you a Moralistic Therapeutic Deist?

18 A creed to believe

19 Personal/powerful God-image(beyond cosmic genie and divine guidance counselor)

20 A creed to believe Personal/powerful God-image(beyond cosmic butler and divine guidance counselor) Language (verbal/nonverbal)

21 A creed to believe Personal/powerful God-image(beyond cosmic butler and divine guidance counselor) Language (verbal/nonverbal) Community where language is spoken

22 A community to belong to…

23 Proximity Proximity

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25 A call to live out…

26 Actions have Actions have consequences consequences

27 A call to live out… Actions have Actions have consequences consequences My life makes a My life makes a difference in difference in the world the world

28 A hope to hold onto…

29 The world is The world is going in a good going in a gooddirection

30 A hope to hold onto… The world is The world is going in a good going in a gooddirection I have a part to I have a part to play in getting it there play in getting it there

31 Theological Rocks: Foundations for Consequential Faith A creed to believe A creed to believe A community to belong to A community to belong to A call to live out A call to live out A hope to hold onto A hope to hold onto

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35 Creed to believe Community to belong to Call to live out Hope to hold onto Hitler youth God as Hitler German superiority Leadership schools Nazi soldier (to save Germany) Glorious future of Germany Boy Scouts God and country Boy Scout Law Scout troop Citizen (to lead society) Pride and respect of self and country Hamas God as Allah Palestinian unity Settlement, cells Martyr (to glorify Allah) Reunified Palestinian land, entry into heaven Youth ministry?

36 What makes youth ministry different?

37 Creed to believe Community to belong to Call to live out Hope to hold onto Hitler youth God as Hitler German superiority Leadership schools Nazi soldier (to save Germany) Glorious future of Germany Boy Scouts God and country Boy Scout Law Scout troop Citizen (to lead society) Pride and respect of self and country Hamas God as Allah Palestinian unity Settlement, cells Martyr (to glorify Allah) Reunified Palestinian land, entry into heaven Youth ministry?

38 How much does youth ministry at your church actually need Jesus?

39 A CREED TO BELIEVE Teach the GRAMMAR OF CHRIST: Surround youth with those who talk to God, who speak the faith, who tell the stories--who live baptismal lives

40 A COMMUNITY TO BELONG TO Foster FAITH FLUENCY. Immerse youth in a baptismal community where people practice dying and rising in Christ

41 A CALL TO LIVE OUT Practice DICTION. Create opportunities for youth to participate in the baptismal life of ministry--to claim God’s call for themselves

42 A HOPE TO HOLD ONTO Keep YOUR ACCENT. Live Advent lives alongside youth- -marked by un-anxious, expectant, and articulate presence (this is as countercultural as it gets)

43 Which rocks are helping young people speak of Jesus? Which rocks are precarious?

44 Remember your baptism, and be thankful.


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