Youth Fixation in Churches and how it alienates older Christians
See these post at Internet Monk:
Excerpts from “The Problem with Grandpa’s Church”
- After World War II, through the 1950′s and especially in the 60′s-70′s and since, America’s culture has been more and more dominated by youth and youth-oriented themes, fashions, preferences, and images. An entire “youth culture” was created and its energy has filled the land. Churches, especially those who have bought in to church growth philosophies, have capitalized on this, changing or throwing out longstanding traditional teachings and practices in order to provide religious settings that fit more comfortably with the lifestyles and preferences of the youth-dominated culture. The more traditional and historic church traditions declined dramatically as the culture of evangelicalism became more and more publicly dominant, energized by the youth ethos.
That is a very broad description of the religious landscape in which I have lived, grown up, received my spiritual calling, and served as a pastor and chaplain. Having weathered this storm, many of us have now come to lament the destruction this tidal wave of change has wrought to the faith and the church. We’ve chosen to choose what Robert Webber called, “the Ancient-Future” path, hoping that we might find a way forward while recovering a more healthy appreciation and integration of tradition and historical perspective
From “Wanted: An Adult Faith in a Youth Culture”
- I’m done with an approach to the faith that flies by the seat of its pants and calls it “spiritual.” Gatherings that feel like pep rallies, youth conventions, or pop concerts hold no appeal. I need to be humbled, not enthused; to know my place in a diverse, multi-generational community of ordinary people who are learning to “walk and not faint,” nourished by spiritual leaders and institutions that have gravitas and maturity.
Give me the neighborhood church on the corner, not the big box church on the suburban highway; the robed pastor in the pulpit, not the hipster who preaches from his iPad or the superstar on the video screen. Give me candles and altarware, you can keep the stage lights. Walk me through the Church Year, and help me teach my kids the Catechism. Keep things simple and meaningful. Don’t program us to death with something for everyone. Let us learn to love our neighbors by participating in the community through being involved in the schools, the sports and recreation leagues, the Scouts, the arts and in charitable causes. Give us time to have evening meals with our families and Sunday afternoons at the park or visiting with friends.
… if you send me a postcard advertising your church as “not your grandfather’s church,” I’m here to tell you right now that is not a selling point. Grandpa’s church is the very one I’m trying to find.
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