If you know me, you know that I was not raised in a "church" going home, but I bet my parents would have said on a survey that we were Christians. I was born in 1975 and by 1980 I had been taken to church by neighbors and I found something that I liked there. Seven years later and a move to another state, I had a personal encounter with the person of Jesus and my life was changed. More dramatically 4 years after that, at 16 years old, I experienced a supernatural encounter that could not be explained away by those who didn't believe that God moved that way anymore.
I followed this passion to a Christian college where I had to grapple with my faith, and the confusion that was presented to me by many well meaning people... some who were immature in their faith and others who were bitter, judgmental and controlling.
I now know that my brain was forming and those experiences and opportunities I had to form my own beliefs and not take those that were being handed to me by society, church, and family, WERE KEY.
A somewhat heart breaking statistics came out this week from the Pew Research Group and while I know that statistics can be used to say why you want, I think they they are telling us in general what we are seeing in America today. More Americans Millennials than other generations consider themselves "religiously unaffiliated". When you look at older and younger millennials it tells an even more complete story, one that is heart breaking to this Gen-Xer who lives my life with intentionality and love towards the Next Generation.
"To put it simply: Older generations of Americans are not passing along the Christian faith as effectively as their forebears." Daniel Burke, CNN
My thought is this... in my generation we had BATTLE CRYS and were encouraged to BE WORLD CHANGERS in very aggressive, combative and legislative manners. We banned things, protested and made sure we were HEARD by any means necessary.
I believe that we have exchanged LOVE for WAR and by doing so, we have been fighting the ones that Jesus wants us to love. We have given up our influence for legislation... the problem is...
YOU CAN'T LEGISLATE BELIEF
YOU CAN'T LEGISLATE MORALITY
YOU CAN'T LEGISLATE LOVE
BUT YOU CAN SHOW THESE THINGS and INFLUENCE THEM.
The truth is adults learn through relationship and our brains detect judgment in .07 seconds (faster than any words are exchanged) and somehow we lost relationship and leaned into judgment and war to tell people about Jesus.
What happened to being WITNESSES and letting the results lie in the hands of the Holy Spirit?
I have seen more Christians protesting and arguing in recent times, responding to fear and fighting for their "rights" than I have seen random acts of kindness and love.
I would argue that this is what the NEXT GENERATION is looking for... they are searching for TRUTH...
Who is going to introduce them to the person of Truth (Jn 14:6) through the commands that HE gave us?
We can't do it on our own, so he gave us the plan:
1. Love the Lord your GOD with all your hear, soul, mind and strength..
2. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Simple but not Easy.