Dusting Off the Pew

August 9, 2010

I’m bored as a boot with this whole Bible project and continually find myself fighting thinkos.

I’m a total dork for trying to wend these cool words into old fogie syntax, but I’m about 99 percent sure no young person will ever read Thumpme. I’m not cool and have no idea how to relate to the new generation of the eternally oppressed. This disconnect, more or less, is how I’m starting to feel about the Bible.

My interest in the Bible is waning for a couple of reasons. One, I’m reading too much too fast. It’s like eating an entire pizza in five minutes — difficult. Two, I’m definitely 21C so when valuable life lessons are few and far between, they pass through my eyes and tumble out of my ears.

I have a “youth leaving church” Google Alert, which leads me to various blogs, articles, etc. about kids avoiding and/or leaving the church as related to steepled religion. I never left the church so I can’t relate there, but I don’t see myself sitting pew side anytime soon either. According to my Google Alert research, these are the most common reasons we younger (being generous here) people avoid or leave “the church.”

1. Faith without religion, a preference for spiritual connection outside of structure.

2. High schools teach evolution. (This article suggests these teachings single out Christians. I’m not sure about this, but it’s a nice segue to No. 3).

3. Extremism. Squeaky wheels are not only irritating, they attract attention.

4. Too restrictive.

5. This trend doesn’t really exist. Teenagers are just fearful of sharing their faith.

6. Teenagers are sinners. (I can’t even validate this with a link because I feel so sorry for the author).

7. They’re Bored Again Christians.

When I was a teenager I went to a “new age” youth church for a few weeks. This church, like many of today’s churches, banked on technology and grungy looking musicians to pull us in. Obviously it didn’t work and as far as I can tell these “relation” efforts continue to fail.

Teenagers are tricky. Not only do you have to speak to them in the right language, you have speak correctly or you’re screwed. Example. My ninth grade history teacher tried to identify with us through language and candy, which was cool. However, when he dolled out Jolly Ranchers to award correct answers, he enthusiastically tossed us “jollies,” an obvious miss and endless form of entertainment.

The one religion-based site I’ve come across that speaks to youth without preaching or posing (do kids still use that word?) is stuffchristianslike.net. Written by Atlanta-based “preacher’s kid/copywriter” Jonathan Acuff, the writing is spot on and is the only reason I put something together today. Well, that and this damn commitment.

Among other things, he uses the word “epic” — though this is losing its stronghold among the verbally advent-garde, for many it’s still the new awesome — he also relates this muddy historical stuff to pop culture. In the latest post, he cites TMZ and relates Mel Gibson’s rant to Solomon.

Here’s an excerpt from “Quietly distancing ourselves from Mel Gibson”:

Every day that he’s in heaven, Solomon better literally thank God that TMZ and paparazzi didn’t exist when he was doing his nonsense.

I know some horrible Mel Gibson audiotapes were recently released, but can you imagine the audio from Solomon?

“Hey, I’m thinking about marrying 10 more wives. Probably going to get some of those ladies that are into child sacrifice and establish some high places where we can tape some epic episodes of ‘Girls Gone Wild.’”

I’m not sure which came first — stuffwhitepeoplelike.com or stuffchristianslike.net — but both make social commentary palatable for younger audiences. I may not be young, but when it comes to the Bible I’m a complete novice and very much appreciate these thoughtful, funny, relative links.

I need a little more humor because right now I’m reading desert text. Stuffchristianslike.net and this site, which was suggested by a reader, are about the only things keeping me going. So if you have some suggestions for jazzing up this lengthy history, please send me an email or leave a comment.

I’m waiting for Jesus. He’s younger and hopefully more entertaining.

Stopping Point: Second Book of Chronicles, Part 2

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One Response to “Dusting Off the Pew”

  1. […] influences and parents are to blame for the fleeing youth. I made my own uninformed judgments in “Dusting Off the Pew,” but really, we all just need to chill out, read the Psalms and watch college students. We all […]

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