Three Her.meneutics writers share their perspectives on young people and the church.

Been There, Done That

As a true sign that I am getting old, Rachel Held Evans's uber-popular CNN post Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church brought about a wistful, nostalgic response in me: Ah, to be young and turning my back on church again.

My mind traveled back to 1990, when I swore off church for good. I told God I still loved him, but his people I wasn't so sure about. Like a good Gen-X-er, I was angry. Angry about what I saw as wrongheaded views on women in the church and a hostile stance toward the gay community. Angry because I thought the church was filled with hypocrites who cared more about sexual sins than greedy ones.

Sound familiar?

Though I did still love Jesus and read my Bible and pray and go to a Christian college and then work for a Christian publisher, I kept pretty true to my no-church word. I can probably count on my fingers the number of times I darkened a church door during my 20s. And one of those times—at Westminster Abbey, no less—I was drunk.

So while I don't think we should ignore pieces that suggest differences in generational "needs" from church, millennial malaise about church is nothing new. Gen-Xers felt it, as did Boomers before us. And lest we forget: the U.S. was founded by disgruntled church folk!

According to Scot McKnight, statistics show that "young adults have always been less affiliated; when they get married and have children they return to their faith. Part of the life cycle is reflected in this." That's what happened with me. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was the Holy Spirit, probably it was a bit of both, but five days after ...

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