Jump directly to the content
To Christian Women Under 40: We're SorryJustin Skinner / iStock

To Christian Women Under 40: We're Sorry


Aug 21 2013
It’s time for women of faith to make amends.

I've watched one young woman after another pour out her heart, expressing deep emotion about the messages they heard from other generations:

"You feel un-relatable to me and not transparent."

"I feel like my mom is under a sworn oath to not tell me everything."

"I need more answers! Why keep things from me?"

"Your idea of a godly woman feels threatening to me."

"When you do talk to me about spiritual things, your language is patronizing."

"The sense I get from older women is they want to fix in my life what was wrong in theirs."

This breakthrough came at a recent event called Shaping Her Faith, part of my research on relationships between Christian women. Women aged 22 to 77 talked openly about the messages we send to one another and how they impact our spiritual lives.

I suddenly knew I was witnessing something sacred. Their young, open voices created a safe haven as we all leaned in, listening to what felt like a mystery finally resolved.

I watched the older generations receive the remarks from women in their 20s and 30s with grace and intentional thought; they each began to ask forgiveness of the younger women. Seasoned women confessed to sometimes not listening, not being relatable, using patronizing spiritual language, and trying to fix their own problems.

Beyond the event, I heard about these women gathering together. One told me, "Pam, I didn't realize how quickly we could get down to the spiritual issues—they are already there!"

In sociologist Christian Smith's book, Lost in Transition, Smith and his collaborators investigated the difficulties young people face. The researchers point out that it's not just their problem but our problem—the struggles of emerging adults have much deeper roots in mainstream American culture. Smith finds that much of our youth's pain and confusion lies with those who've gone before. So my message to Christian women in their 20s and 30s: I'm sorry, too. It's time to mend our generational wounds and deepen our relationships as women of faith.

Part of the solution, I believe is to stop blaming either generation. Instead I want to call you to follow Smith's simple advice to help avert the gap: Intentionally stay in relationship with mature adults outside your age group.

In our public conversation, one mature woman admitted she only met with younger women if they contacted her. Even though older friends, relatives, and mentors should initiate, when young women show a desire to sustain and strengthen a relationship, both people benefit. Here's how you—as women in your 20s and 30s—can help us make amends, to come together for the sake of the church and God's kingdom:

Related Topics:Aging; Gender; Millennials; Youth
Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Comments

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
I Forgave My Teen Daughter’s Killer

I Forgave My Teen Daughter’s Killer

The gospel taught me that forgiveness is not a pardon.
Why We Want to Return to Stars Hollow

Why We Want to Return to Stars Hollow

The weirdest part of the Gilmore Girls hometown? How they did community right.
My Toddler Survived Brain Cancer—Here’s What I Learned

My Toddler Survived Brain Cancer—Here’s What I Learned

7 things you should know, from a mom who’s been there
Don’t Just Pray Alone

Don’t Just Pray Alone

The world is desperate for people to pray with.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

My Son’s Autism Changed Everything—Even Our Church

I came to see special needs families as an unreached people group.

Twitter

  • When her daughter was murdered by her high school boyfriend, she immediately knew what she had to do: forgive him https://t.co/1KwxDEcMKF
  • God and women's freedom are tied up together in Beyonc00e9's #LEMONADE d83cdf4b https://t.co/06owHPGAW2
  • RT @KatelynBeaty: Fascinating, discomfiting: Why 'The Biggest Loser' contestants regain the weight: @nytimes https://t.co/wMiuTZZY9q
  • RT @aliciacohn: 12 million coloring books sold in 2015: IS America2019s obsession with adult coloring a cry for help? "https://t.co/u8sc3Fj8by2026
  • RT @Atoes84: Messages from the Edge: Suicide Notes on Social Media via @CT_Women #SPSM #suicide https://t.co/L8XRAeUPL3


What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
To Christian Women Under 40: We're Sorry