Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church

The Barna Group – Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church.

The above article is based on recent research in the changing landscape of young adults and faith.  Over the past decade I have seen a lot of this going on and have tried to address some of these issues in my blog.  The research reinforces in my mind the need to present a more robust articulation of our faith tradition that handles the many challenges of an increasingly pluralistic and technologically advanced culture.

The Fear of Being Known

One of the things that inevitably happens when you begin to make yourself known to others is that some people don’t like what they see. I don’t know about you, but I have always had a reluctance to share who I truly am for fear that when I really put it out there, “that big matsa ball” as they say on Seinfeld, people will flee in droves from the shocking truth. Fortunately, it’s not such a severe occurrence but nevertheless, there is some separation which happens when you start to share about yourself to more than your closest personal friends. Your close friends know who you are and accept you junk and all. People who know you less or are acquaintances seem much more ready to jump ship at signs of danger. Its a weird feeling, but I always have that little pang when I see my friend list number drop on facebook or feel like I have to unfriend someone. It seems stupid, but there is that self-doubt which comes to mind, “that person didn’t think I was important enough to stay in contact with.” I’m sure there are innumerable reasons for it and of course I probably deserve it a lot of the time but I can let it affect me if I’m not careful. Which probably ties in to the issue at hand, I care entirely too much what other people think of me. I can’t seem to help it. I feel like its important to be well liked or perceived as a good person even though I know I’m just a turd. There’s always that nagging voice in the back of your mind, “you know people wouldn’t REALLY like you if they knew how messed up you are.” It can seem so convincing and manages to keep us from really experiencing life, from putting ourselves out there. The reality though is that this thing that keeps us locked up inside ourselves for fear of judgment actually is a lie. It is true, some people won’t like you because of who you really are, but a lot of people will. More importantly, God cares for you and I, which in some ways trumps the whole deal. Its not about what I do but about who He is and what he offers us: full disclosure. I don’t have to fake it with God. He is well aware of my shortcomings and misdeeds, my sinful tendencies and my self-obsession. He offers me the supreme gift of making my sins known to Him, something I am always reluctant to do. No one wants to admit how messed up they really are and it seems even worse when God is the one you are spilling your guts to but the truth can be so freeing. Telling God everything frees us from the burden of sin we keep trying to manage. Its a weight of unremitting micro-management. It takes our focus off of what is really important in life and keeps us locked up inside ourselves. I, for one, am tired of it. I’m ready for a revolution in my soul. Time to be honest with God and get the hell out of this internal weigh station. Let’s break through the lines of the enemy and start a revolution in our hearts to make ourselves known. Hey, you never know, you might just make some new friends in the process.

Published in: on September 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm  Comments (5)  

Why atheism is sometimes good

Sometimes atheism can be a good thing. Let me explain. From time to time, I come across folks who have rejected God for various reasons. When we get around to finding out the reasons for their turn to atheism, often times, they describe a divine being in which I too have no problem saying does not exist. The issue is their conception of God. It simply does not correspond to the loving God of theism. Anytime our view of God is a cheap knock off of the all-powerful, all-loving deity, it is right to conclude that that God must die. The mistake so often made by people in this situation is that they just stop there. They become satisfied with atheism. The means becomes an end. The only problem is, it really doesn’t satisfy. What is needed instead, is a superior conception of the Almighty. Only when we have a more accurate view of God, can we hope to be saved from our own depravity and selfishness. If we replace our old view of God with a better one, we can begin to start the healing process and get out of the cul-de-sac of atheism. Then, like Zarathustra, we can say to those ill-conceived notions of some white dude with a beard floating in the clouds, “God is dead” and turn our attention towards the vision of the Alpha and Omega, who is, who was and who is to come. Only to a God of infinite moral perfection can it be said, “You are worthy to be worshipped.” All other Gods need not apply.