Generations and the Church: Part 5
Anyone in their 20’s, is a Millennial by that stretch, and you can even take it up to, by your definition, up to age 35. I think one of the key factors in understanding the Millennials is post-modernism began to happen. The X’ers are going to school in a one world view and come out under another; they come in under Modernism and come out under Post-Modernism, we call that “True for you and not for me”, trying to summarize the concepts of modernism. So, in other words, “Hey, that’s great. I’m glad it is true for you, Jesus is your Savior, but he’s not mine. Hey, it’s right for you to wait until marriage, but that’s true for you but not true for me.”
And you can see it in the fact that 69% of evangelical young people have sex before marriage, even more for people in mainline churches. The idea is, for many of them, I shouldn’t be doing this, but for others it is true and it’s great if you can do it, but that’s just not working for me. It’s a version of Christianity that I would call syncretistic. We synchronize it with other things that seem to make more sense. Miley Cyrus as a great example of that. In one of her songs she talks about haters. “The Baptists, and her parents, and people who are saying only God can judge you. Well that’s true, but you know who loves you,” she sings, “anybody who doesn’t love you is a hater, because only God can judge you.”
In USA Today (mid-November 2013) had an editorial on young people, students who are petitioning, protesting safe environments, because they wanted a teacher expelled there. It’s a big theme on a lot of university campuses. It needs to be a safe environment, so the syllabus needs to warn them when there are passages that may open up past memories and past pain. And, a person needs to have the option of not reading that book and reading something else that won’t bring up that past pain. It needs to be a safe place; the university is a safe place. Not only free from prejudice, but free from enflaming old hurts. The point of it is the idea of judge not because judging is the ultimate sin; the greatest sin is to judge another person. Christian Smith’s incredible research where he followed Millennials over the last ten years, takes a look at their moral foundations, how they make moral judgments. About 25% of those who were raised in church make some moral judgments based on what we would call theological foundations. Even those who were raised in church and bible teaching churches often make psychological judgments rather than theological judgments. They even answer theological questions with psychological terms. So, psychology has truly won; it has become the fog that shapes our thinking today.