“…the new youth pastor taught less and played more…”

Second day of Run Training! Although the thermometre said only +3 C, it was really a lovely, sunny morning, perfect for running with a sweater on. I guess when there’s frost on the ground, I’ll have to start running in the evening. ;)

Now, just a couple more quote-sharings, and then we’ll be ready for more Perspective notes! :P  (OK, enough with the smilies already!)

The first one is about questioning–both good and bad: “There’s a peculiar quality that the questioning person cultivates, an openness to the world … and a willingness to … learn something.” So says Matthew Lee Anderson in The End of Our Exploring; who is not calling for an end to questioning, but that our questioning should have an end, a goal. It is good and right to ask questions, but sometimes we ask in order to evade our responsibilities (e.g. “Who is my neighbour?”).

The next article is about a survey that was done (by Larry Taunton of Fixed Point Foundation) of University-aged young people, asking them why they had lost their faith.

Instead of would-be Richard Dawkinses, the typical respondent was more like Phil, a student Taunton interviewed. Phil had grown up in church; he had even been the president of his youth group. What drove Phil away wasn’t the lure of secular materialism or even Christian moral teaching. And he was specifically upset when his church changed youth pastors.

Whereas his old youth pastor “knew the Bible” and made Phil “feel smart” about his faith even when he didn’t have all the answers, the new youth pastor taught less and played more.

Phil’s loss of faith coincided with his church’s attempt to ingratiate itself to him instead of challenging him. According to Taunton, Phil’s story “was on the whole typical of the stories we would hear from students across the country.”

These kids had attended church but “the mission and message of their churches was vague,” and manifested itself in offering “superficial answers to life’s difficult questions.” The ministers they respected were those “who took the Bible seriously,” not those who sought to entertain them or be their “buddy.”

I have to admit that at one point, I agreed that it was most important to develop relationships with older youth, especially those who had grown up in the church and had reached the age where they might be getting tired of Bible stories. Now I see that both are important… and after all, the Bible is more than all those wonderful stories that are included….

user looking out

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