The Generation Gap Among Christian Women
What I hear the younger generation asking for is us to admit to the suffering in our lives. Are we living transparently about the emotional pain we actually feel? Even to ourselves? What draws a younger woman closer to us is when she can connect her own doubts and struggles with our honest talk. Even though Christian women are blogging online with more authenticity, these younger women long for face-to-face contact, or as Kinnaman calls it, "skin time."
So what would it look like for us as women in the older generations to mentor or disciple a younger woman in the Christian faith?
Listen with Wonder
It helps us to not generalize the younger generation. We live in the same culture, evil as it may be, as the younger women. As we listen to them, it gives us a moment to reflect on how we live out our Christian faith as women living in this culture – the culture Kinnaman calls Babylon – the place where Daniel and Esther were famous and where many Jewish people enjoyed wild success as business owners. When the younger women listen to us, our transparency ignites a sense of wonder – a sense of astonishment at the lively inner life feelings matching their own. It's not a sense of "now I know your weakness," rather it's a sense of understanding.
Create a Safe Place
We can offer our time and create safe place for conversation with younger women. The idea of sharing in a small group is popular in church and Bible studies, but they are not always the best venues. Safe to us is not what is safe to them. It's not enough to see them in church and ask them how their family is doing. In a church setting, this age group tends to feel ignored. Meeting one-on-one with the intention of transparent talk feels like spiritual life to them, though it can take a lot of time and commitment for that to happen. We need to sacrifice our desire for the younger generation of women to be just like us. They are not like us. Their spiritual lives grow differently. One reason is they are more likely to see themselves as leaders than we do. There's a confidence about the younger generation of women in which we need preparation.
Live without Misleading
In the Barna survey, there's an interesting twist. Although 47 percent of young women do not see themselves as deeply spiritual, they still consider themselves leaders. They are more likely than us, their mothers and their grandmothers, to take on these leadership roles.
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