Teens and a faith disconnect

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In my observation working with youth, the biggest challenge that our young people are dealing with is the disconnect of their faith between Monday and Sunday. It seems that many of the teenagers in our congregations have a form of faith, or religious devotion, but to them the faith they embrace is more similar to the gadgetry they toy with than the transformative relationship we witness in Scripture.

Let me explain. In the big NSYR study of spirituality in the lives of American teens, what they observed is that kids have a faith that resembles moral therapeutic deism. In other words, Jesus is a "get out of jail free card," with little or no active involvement in the world today. Spirituality for most American teens is just merely furniture in their lives, or like I observed above just another gadget they toy with.

I am not saying that all teens fit into this mold, but our young people are buying into the allure of what the world offers, and missing the radical call to revolution that Jesus teaches (Matthew 5-7).

Can we remedy this seemingly desperate situation? I think so. It won't be easy. We have got to heed the call in 1 Peter 2:11-12 to live our lives as aliens on this planet, not attached to the stuff that advertisers feed to our desires and wants. And we must live authentically in our world, and let our teens see how faith and the practice of that faith affects the entirety of our being and the world around us. I think part of the problem of our thinking has been a misunderstanding of the "kingdom of God," and a lack of emphasis on the cross for our lives today. The kingdom of God is the place where God rules, and if we are in Christ and the Spirit of Christ dwells with us we are to submit to the rule of God in our lives, and this should effect the way we live and interact with others. Because of the victory of the cross we can live with victory now. I think if we had a better understanding of the kingdom and lived with the cross in view we would be better disciples ourselves and I think we would be able to make better disciples also.

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