Rather, I plead with you to see a mode of life in our midst, a mode of life stunted and distorted, but possessing its own laws and claims, an existence of men growing out of the soil prepared by the collective but blind will of a hundred million people. –Richard Wright, Native Son
I grew up learning about God. I grew up with conservative values.
Largely I haven’t abandoned those institutions, but the average millennial has.
A recent survey by Christopher Newport University shows one of the most rebellious, if you will, generations to date. But it’s not a rebellion against some of the social tangents our country has been faced with before (think back to Woodstock), it’s instead a removal from the chains of institutional legitimacy.
I got to pondering earlier today when I first heard the report from WTOP, and considered it’s an argument I can back up based on many of my generational relatives. In fact, the majority of the folks I know define themselves as politically moderate – not liking either of the parties. Additionally, their faith tends to lie in meditation, spiritual cleansing, or agnosticism. The world of 20-something bible thumpers has come and went.
Political parties and religious factions have something in common in this country that many industries (I’ll call them industries only for the sake of argument) do not. They must answer the following question. What do we get young folks to become interested in what we’re doing?
No twenty-something is excited at the opportunity to go and sing 1850 hymnals in a bleak, dark, cold building. However, adding contemporary music in a non-denominational setting with lots of lights really tends to bring in a whole different flock.
People in their young years are typically not going to support a hard lined red candidate offering to ship illegals double time. Add a Che Guevara -isque painting on a T-shirt? Sold!
As youngins, we require new, innovative attention diverters. We’re not suppressed by chains of institutions; we require an immediate detachment from the status quo and demand to make our own life – sometimes a second life.
If it’s not Tweetable, Facebook worthy, or Snapable, we could give a damn.
So we need to take a lesson from the other marketing greats in our nation. Churches and politicians have to adapt. Maybe we’ll see a “cooler” version of Jesus soon. Or maybe Bernie will start wearing beanies.
Let’s get our attention, before you lose it again.
And the people did sayeth, America and Amen.