[It took me a while to write this, as I thought I’d have a post up last Wednesday on “How to get millennials to come back to Church.” It took so long because, well I didn’t want to agree with my conclusion… but as I expound on in the article below saying that “When it feels as if we are constantly having to defend the humanity of our friends because of their sexuality, you know it’s time to just shake hands, agree to disagree, and go your separate ways.” Yes, some will return inevitably but a vast majority won’t. Love to hear any of your thoughts.]
There are millennials and then there are those who go to Church…
We’re not only two different groups, but we have two very different political stances. Some of my friends say they’re “social libertarians,” anarchist’s even, most are like me, just independent and not too crazy about labels. I would agree that both millennials and church-goers follow Jesus, but the thing is we are following two incredibly different versions of Jesus; one Jesus looks more like a middle class white man, and the other Jesus looks more like a homeless Palestinian Jew.
The religious elite during Jesus’ time was only willing to bow, worship, and accept a messiah that was this angelic judge of the earth with political power, this also seems to be the only Jesus much of the religious right are willing to worship. While, seemingly, the millennial is only willing to bow, worship, and accept a homeless peasant that incarnates an inclusive love.
If you’re not following, what I’m insinuating is that we, Christian millennials and the so-called “moral-majority,” not only worship two very different versions of God, but we adhere to two very different version of Christianity. These two versions are so far removed from each other that they are not only conflicting but they are two completely differing religions.
So the question still yet remains: How then can we close this divide between two conflicting views, in which worship two conflicting God’s that lead to two very different lifestyles?
I truly struggled in answering this, because it’s such a personal topic in which I’m so incredibly passionate about, the fact of the matter is, the answer I came up with I’ve refused to accept, but here’s the truth:
We’re not going to close this divide between two conflicting views. When it feels as if we are constantly having to defend the humanity of our friends because of their sexuality, you know it’s time to just shake hands, agree to disagree, and go your separate ways.
It wasn’t, hasn’t, and never will be healthy, productive, or conducive to our relationship and walk with [our version of] Christ. We left behind your version of Church after high school to see what else was out there, surprisingly we found something better and healthier. The grand majority of us have decided that we’re not coming back, at least any time in the near future. This brings very few of us joy but admittedly it has offered many a sense and experience of freedom!The more I think about it the more apparent it becomes that we were never a “lost generation,” but rather a generation that was misled…
Misled to believe that gender, race, and sexuality determine status.
Misled to believe that morality determined value.
Misled to believe that Christianity was simply a program we attended once a week, for only one hour a week, twice a month, that is, on a good month.
Imagine if the future of the church abandoned labels, rejected a boxed in dogma, and accepted an inclusive version of Jesus.
The Jesus that was known for what He was for as opposed to being recognized for what He stood against.
Christ was for the poor.
Christ was for inclusion.
Christ was for diversity and unity.
Christ was for women and equality.
He spent time with the sick, He healed the lame, and He rescued those who were dying. To us, this is Church! This is something that offers us meaning, and reason to not simply live for, but something to give our lives to. We like Jesus, and we don’t like what we’ve come to know as “church.” We tried doing it your way, and now we’re going to attempt doing it our way. We know that what we do will be far from perfect and incredibly messy. But is this not what the journey of life is: unpredictably imperfect and incredibly messy?
All in all as hard as it is for many of us to accept: We left, and we’re not coming back.
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
This technological age of information has been weird, but it’s also shown us millennials are not alone. It’s made the world realize that the conservative moral-majority was never actually “moral” and are no longer the majority. As frowned upon as Twitter, blogging, Tumblr, and social media are they’ve shown the world a the silent minority is not the minority and enabled us, or rather encouraged us to stop being so silent.
Please understand that it’s not that we, millennials, are lost, it’s that you no longer have us. I, personally, strongly question whether or not you ever truly accepted us. Thankfully, and ironically, we’ve come to find that Christ has accepted us, despite our sexuality, color, or gender… so we’re just going to follow His lead from here on out.
[I wrote this speaking in regards to the millennials experience. I also want to acknowledge that I realize this does not voice how every millennial feels. Each of us has our own unique story and therefore differing thoughts on religion and where they as individuals land. The post is written in a general sense, I paint with broad strokes, so again, I understand not every millennial will agree. All in all, this post is something that is not simply a letter to allow millennials to know they are not alone, but a letter to the parent, pastor, or church attender to recognize it’s unlikely the millennial will return to their version of Church or for this matter, their version of Jesus. I explain why here.]