Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christianity and Teenagers

ABC has a story today on Christianity and teenagers. Here are some excerpts:

Since when did being a Christian teen become so cool?

"The day of the Christian kid being viewed as a nerd are long gone," said Bill Graening, the director of the Alive Festival, a three-day Christian music festival held each summer in Ohio that draws up to 20,000 people a day.

At least 80 percent of U.S. teens between the ages of 13 and 17 identify themselves as religious, with the majority identifying as Christian, according to the National Study on Youth and Religion, a six-year project funded by the Lilly Endowment....

Being devoutly religious doesn't preclude being edgy, say many Christian teens. Andrea Machlan, 17, of Fort Wayne, Ind., is a devout Christian but also part of what she calls the "hard-core scene." She and her friends are into tattoos, piercings and heavy-rock music.

"A lot of those lines are really blurred between Christian and non-Christian," she said, especially when it comes to music. Machlan says she and her group of friends are open to all sorts of people....

"Companies are seeing the size of the youth evangelical market growing, with growing disposable income, growing education," Schofield-Clark said. "They're seeing the evangelical Christian market as a viable market."

Thankfully, the article also quotes somebody whose sentiments are closer to mine:

Chanon Ross is a youth minister in Naperville, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, who recently wrote an article called "Jesus Is Not Cool." He says that all the focus on fun and games waters down the real message — and hard work — of following a faith.

While many youth ministries organize trips to Christian music festivals to attract more kids, Ross does not.

"It confuses what it means to follow Jesus. Are you passionate about loving your enemies, or are you really passionate about what you felt at the rock concert?" he said.

Paul Kerr writes:

It might be an interesting exercise to randomly survey our young people coming out of their next emotionally charged rally. Let's ask them if they, like young Timothy, could adhere to Paul's instructions to defend the faith [1 Timothy 1:3-5, 2 Timothy 2:14-19]. Their answers, or perhaps more precisely, bewildered looks, will reflect leaders who have bought into the myth that dumbing down the faith will make it more palatable for our youth. (Christian Research Journal, Volume 23, No. 1, p. 61)