Saturday, November 26, 2011

empty-churchA book and a review evaluate the sad but predictable situation. The Zenit article begins:

1. Churches do have an active engagement with teens, but many of the young people do not grow up to be faithful adult followers of Christ.

2. There are a variety of reasons people drop out, so it is important not to generalize about an entire generation.

3. Churches are not adequately preparing the next generation to follow Christ in the context of a rapidly changing culture.

The problem, Kinnaman explained, is not that teens are any less active in church than in previous times. In fact, around four out of five teens in America will spend a part of their childhood or teen years going to a Christian congregation or parish. What happens is that this activity fades away during their 20s.

imagesFor both Catholics and Protestants the age group of those in their 20s is the least likely to say that they are committed to Christ, in spite of their previous religious experience.

An even greater problem is the disconnect with the church. Even more than a struggle with their faith in Christ, young people cease their institutional participation.

For the whole article, click here.

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My own thoughts on this are these: We have changed our philosophy as a culture from God-centered to Man-centered — from theistic to materialistic. No one explained this to us. Most people catch their worldview like they catch a cold, by being too close to someone who has it. Our world view is not something we should “catch” but something we should CHOOSE. We should think through the philosophical possibilities and CHOOSE to be Christians and Catholics because IT IS TRUE!

We have failed to teach out children to think about our surrounding culture, to ask “Why is Christianity true? And if it is true then the alternatives must be false, right?” Our schools, the media and entertainment tell them there is NO GOD and to live as though He is dead. Our young people have been lied to and no one inoculated them from the humanist, materialist world view.

Janet and I During the Time we Spent Studying with Dr. Francis Schaeffer in Switzerland with our First Chrildren

Janet and I back in our Switzerland Study Days with Schaeffer

I taught my kids to be rebels, to argue with the secular culture, to resist pressure from the modernist philosophy and to know why we lived and acted differently. Many parents parents have failed to set the example. Children will usually love what their parents love. We should love the truth, love the Church, love to speak out and be counter-cultural.

Below are two good video clips of about 8 minutes each (Part I and Part II) which explain the situation in the modern world and why we have failed — not only our young people — but most all of our people.

This man in the videos is a Presbyterian minister and philosopher who was (and still is) a hero of mine. His name is Dr. Francis Schaeffer. I moved to Switzerland in 1982 to study with him. I affectionately call him my Protestant Patron Saint. I wouldn’t be a Christian today without his earlier influence in my intellect and wider life. He taught me to think and to think like a Christian who has the ultimate Truth of reality.

He taught me that it is not true because we believe it, but it we believe it because IT IS TRUE!  (He was thoroughly Protestant for which I am now saddened. (Had he lived longer I am convinced he would have become a Catholic because from my perspective his intellectual momentum was heading in that direction.)

It is because of him that I was able to stay Christian — and to love and commit my life to Christ in my early twenties.  Catholics will profit greatly from his pithy, prophetic words which he spoke in 1982 when I was in Switzerland. He predicted our state of affairs today but I think he would have been surprised and dismayed at how quickly we are falling and proving him unhappily correct.

Part I (eight minutes)

Part II (eight minutes)

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