I recently attended a forum in which one of themes had to do with the question… Why are our youth not embracing Christianity more than that they are? Why do we not see more people in their teens, 20s and early-30s in church on Sundays? The first thought that came to my mind in response was… “They’re just not buying what the Church is selling.”
Frankly, I’m not sure that young people have ever flocked to the church. But there seems to be a sense that the situation has worsened. If this is so, I can’t say that I am surprised, given what we see and hear in the news about the Church, be it Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, Mormon. I won’t go into specifics. You all know what I’m talking about.
Indeed, why should anyone in their youth wish to be a Christian? In theory, Christianity offers a great deal. However, when you see Christians in our society, there really isn’t much that distinguishes them from other people.
Christians are happy and sad. Christians are nice and not so nice. Christians are easy to get along with and some are difficult to be around. Christians have answers for some of life’s problems, and sometimes they haven’t a clue. Christians are tolerant and intolerant. Christians have huge egos and tend to focus on themselves, and some are very giving and selfless. Christians are forgiving and also vengeful. Christians are gentle and kind, and some of us are violent and aggressive. Christians are committed to their families and communities, but some are not.
In other words, Christians are average human beings. Aside from the promised “reward of “salvation” sometime in the future after we exit the physical world, what is it exactly that makes being a Christian attractive? What are the tangible benefits in the here and now? What do we think, do, and say that is so radical and revolutionary that will contribute to making us better human beings and our world a noticeably better place to live for everybody?
I know that in theory, we Christians have some pretty good answers to the problems that people, communities, and nations encounter every day. We have some of the most powerful ways of dealing with both the simple and complex stuff.
The question is, “Do we practice what we have learned from our Teacher?” For it is the practice of what we’ve been taught by the Master that creates that kind of energy and excitement that draws people to our movement, especially those who are young and hungry for knowledge, wisdom, and truth.