Yesterday I attended a meeting of the Council of the Diocese of Olympia, at which a young priest asked us about our knowledge of young adults and their relationship to the church. When I got home I checked Facebook to see this blogpost forwarded to me by a friend from Arkansas. I just sent it on to my Bishop and another clergy colleague and forwarded it to my own Facebook account. It's worth reading just for the way it directly addresses in a calm and direct way the anxieties of adults who wonder where the young people are. It is by a person who served as a campus chaplain.
I call attention to these quotes:
1. Be genuine. Do not under any circumstances try to be trendy or hip, if you are not already intrinsically trendy or hip. If you are a 90-year-old woman who enjoys crocheting and listens to Beethoven, by God be proud of it.
Amen to that! Here's more:
5. Stop looking for the "objective truth" in Scripture.
6. Start looking for the beautiful truth in Scripture.
I know I'm going to upset some people I know with approving of the above, but I'm not sorry about that. I think if we can't see the beauty in Scripture we're in no little trouble.
Here's something else I find true in my experience:
9. Do not shy away from lighting candles, silence, incense, laughter, really good food, and extraordinary music. By "extraordinary music" I mean genuine music. Soulful music. Well-written, well-composed music. Original music. Four-part harmony music. Funky retro organ music. Hymns. Taize chants. Bluegrass. Steel guitar. Humming. Gospel. We are the church; we have a uber-rich history of amazing music. Remember this.
Why, even yesterday a 25-year-old man -- ok, he may be 26 by now :) -- told me a big attraction to St. Paul's was the organ music.
One more, and then go there and read the whole thing for yourself:
15. Stop worrying about getting young people into the church. Stop worrying about marketing strategies. Take a deep breath. If there is a God, that God isn't going to die even if there are no more Christians at all.
Thank you, Tamie, in the merciful name of Jesus, for sharing this with us.