I Don’t Care That The Millennials Are Leaving Church
I am in the minority.
Every time I visit a Christian news site, I see post after post lamenting that the 20-somethings are bailing on church or the Christian faith.
And I don’t care if the Millennials are leaving church and don’t see why other Christians are so worked up over this.
I am Generation X. I am sandwiched between the annoying “Baby Boomers” (sorry for any Baby Boomers visiting this blog page, but yes, I am sick and tired of hearing about your generation) and the “Millennials.”
I don’t care about either group.
I grew up having to hear – in the 1980s, and into the 1990s, and to the present – constant media fixation on “Baby Boomers,” and their rock music tastes, them having kids when they started families of their own, all the music in TV commercials was taken from their music era (up until about ten years ago), and the last five years, all I hear about in the news is their failing health, how they are preparing for retirement, yada yada.
If not Baby Boomers, the media obsess over today’s 20-somethings (“The Millennials”).
Rarely do I see news articles in secular or Christian press about today’s 40 somethings (Generation X).
There is nothing unique about today’s Millennials.
We Generation-Xers grew up being heavily marketed to as well.
The only differences between Gen X and Millennials is that Gen X did not have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and cell phones (we had land lines and M t.v. [Music Television]), and we had to work to earn our A’s in school (in my day, you had to earn a trophy; teachers did not hand out trophies for EVERYONE on a team just for showing up).
But there are some similarities between the two groups. Gen X can also sniff out bullshit marketing messages, not just Millennials, as Millennials so proudly claim (in their essays about why they are disenchanted with church, the Millennials are typically like, “We Mils are so hip and clever, we can see through marketing ploys”) – there is nothing special or clever about Millennials in this regard.
Emergent Christian blogger RHE (Evans) recently published yet another “Why are the Millennials Leaving Churches” essay a couple of weeks ago, which unfortunately triggered the appearance of a billion more blog pages by Average Joe’s and professional Christian bloggers and news sites alike (such as The Christian Post) about the topic.
I refer you to this blog’s one stop topic thread about the Christian community’s continued ageism and obsession with 20-somethings and teen agers:
Only so far that today’s twenty- somethings have the same criticisms of church that the 30-, 40-, and 50- somethings have do I care what they have to say. Other than that…
Enough with media coverage about the 20-somethings! Stop it. I am sick of it. There are also Christians in their 30s, 40s, and older who are leaving church, but I see no where the amount of worry and concern over them.
(Link): Why Are Millennials Leaving the Church? The Narcissism Factor
(Link): Dear Millennials: Shut Up. Sincerely, Gen X – GENERATION X HAD IT TOUGH TOO: MAT HONAN
- Mat Honan has a message seemingly directed at the current generation occupying Wall Street and feeling sorry for itself: “Generation X is sick of your bullshit.” A recent New York article claimed this might be the first generation to end up worse off than its parents: “Please. Been there,” retorts Honan on Gizmodo. “Generation X was told that so many times that it can’t even read those words without hearing Winona Ryder’s voice in its heads.”
“Generation X is tired of your sense of entitlement,” he continues. After all, that generation also graduated during a recession, suffered through crappy jobs, and lost money in the dot-com bust, all while actually paying for its music. Today, “Generation X is tired,” Honan concludes. It “wishes it had better health insurance and a deeper savings account.” Mostly, it wants a minute to be left alone to think and have a beer. “Can you just do that, OK? It knows that you are so very special and so very numerous, but can you just leave it alone? Just for a little bit?”
This was written by a Mil who is telling other Mils to STFU, so I find this refreshing:
(Link): How to keep Millennials in the church? Let’s keep church un-cool. by By Brett McCracken
- I’m a Millennial, but I am weary of everyone caring so much about why Millennials do this or don’t do that. I’m sorry Millennials, but I’m going to have to throw us under the bus here: we do not have everything figured out. And if we expect older generations and well-established institutions to morph to fit our every fickle desire, we do so at our peril.
…Millennials: why don’t we take our pastors, parents, and older Christian brothers and sisters out to coffee and listen to them? Perhaps instead of perpetuating our sense of entitlement and Twitter/blog/Instagram-fueled obsession with hearing ourselves speak, we could just shut up for a minute and listen to the wisdom of those who have gone before?
And for pastors, church leaders, and others so concerned with the survival of the church amidst the glut of “adapt or die!” hype, is asking Millennials what they want church to be and adjusting accordingly really your best bet? Are we really to believe that today’s #hashtagging, YOLO-oriented, selfie-obsessed generation of Millennials has more wisdom to offer about the church than those who have thought about and faithfully served the church decade after decade, amidst all its warts, challenges and ups and down?
… But a deeper problem is that Christianity has become too obsessed with how it is perceived. Just like the Photoshop-savvy Millennials she is so desperate to retain, the church is ever more meticulously concerned with her image, monitoring what people are saying about her and taking cues from that.
Erik Thoennes, professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Biola University, is troubled by the church’s obsession with perception.
“We’ve got experts who tell us ‘this is how pagans think about us, Oh no!’ and we wring our hands and say ‘we’re so lame!’” said Thoennes.
“This perception-driven way of doing things will make you go crazy. We’re junior highers. Junior highers live in this world of ‘how am I being perceived’ all the time. Oh to be free from that!”
Much of this is an outgrowth of the audience-is-sovereign mentality of the seeker-sensitive movement, which has loomed large in evangelicalism’s recent history. Another part of it is Christianity’s capitulation to a consumerist culture where the primary goal is to scratch where the market itches.
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