Friday, May 11, 2007

Death Warmed Over & Cloned

WARNING: Disturbing Content

I've discovered a disturbing set of clones in recent months. Surprisingly, they're both part of the emerging generation of youth and young adults.

The first is the offspring of mega-church ministries. These youth have been raised on entertainment and pre-fab "experiences" (worship times, youth conferences, etc.), where everything is tightly scripted and controlled. You can easily spot them when an informal gathering of Christ-followers happens:
  • Often, they're conspicuous by their absence -- if it doesn't drive their adrenaline higher than a quadruple-shot caramel mocha latte, they're not interested
  • they're uncomfortable with people sharing about their spiritual lives if it's not part of the "program/meeting" -- genuine, unscripted conversation about spiritual things is foreign and unsettling
  • While they know all the correct Christian lingo/jargon, they live with a perpetual smirk towards any of their peers who "really believe this stuff"
The second set, which you'd normally think would look quite different, are nearly identical clones of the first: the off-spring of the house church movement. These youth have been raised on cynicism, isolation, and general crabbishness. They are likewise not too difficult to spot:
  • While their parents insisted that they -- not the institutional church -- were the real source of instruction and spiritual formation, it seems sometimes that the ball was dropped somewhere, and faith became a privatized, "don't ask, don't tell" personal experience
  • they're uncomfortable with people who are genuinely excited about their faith-walk with Jesus -- they just aren't used to being around people who speak about their faith "out loud"
  • while they aren't as familiar with Christian lingo/jargon, they exhibit the same elitist smirk when they encounter peers who "really believe this stuff"
I freely admit that these are generalizations -- to a degree -- yet I have been meeting a disturbing and increasing number of youth and young adults in recent years who come from radically different ecclesial settings, but when seen side-by-each, the first word that comes to mind is "clone".

Another word -- "intentional" -- suddenly takes on an increased sense of urgency.