When I was a youth ministry major 8 years ago I was informed that my generation and the generation afterwards would be very casual, that truth couldn’t be spelled with a capital T, that relativism and all things spiritual would be a touch-and-go matter and as long as values didn’t step on the toes of others “whatever dude” would be the mantra.
I write as one who is a follower of Christ, so if you’re from a different faith system, your input would be nice, because I don’t know your side of the coin as well as you do so please contribute by commenting. 🙂
While I do see that there’s a bit more of a liberal nature to my generation, I don’t see the concerns of my professors truly come to be. The thing is as I consider myself post-Evangelical and more in the Emergent camp than not, and my days when I self-identified as Evangelical don’t come back to haunt me (at least, not too much), the time that I was an Evangelical served me well and was a building block in my faith and not a stepping stone; that is, it helped me to where I am currently and going over a means from one side of the pond to the other, something that doesn’t get looked back upon.
So this “Whatever Dude” approach to my generation to things of God and spirituality? Not necessarily so, in fact I think that if anything my generation is doing what can be engage it more on their terms and not going by “tradition” or “we’ve always done it this way, so why change?” means. There is nothing innately wrong with tradition, but not willing to explore deeper waters and being comfortable closer to the shoreline…not quite what I thought of when Jesus described the nature of following him, or even how Dietrich Bonhoffer put it; When God calls a man [or a woman] to himself, he bids him [or her] to come and die.
Even for those in my generation who aren’t followers of Christ, I see a re-reading of religious texts and it not being read for face value either. My Muslim friends aren’t out to kill me or convert me, there’s an understanding and there’s dialogue, and it goes a lot further any day of the week than debate – whether them to me or I to them. I think my generation has a pretty good handle on talking, and even listening for that matter! I’m proud to hear the questions and conversations happening 🙂 To God be the glory in all things!
Lastly for this “whatever dude” debunked post, there’s the nature of doubting and questioning. I truly believe that doubting and questioning walks hand-in-hand with faith, because if one’s able to sum up the entirety of their belief system in an unflinching manner, that’s belief in the belief system and in many ways faith exits the scene. As a follower of Christ I can only speak on behalf of my brothers and sisters in Christ, so here’s something Jesus told his Disciples prior to him going back to Heaven; John 20:29 – Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Faith is one of those things you can’t really have a grasp on, you really can’t, but then again that’s why it’s faith. You take your life, your journey, and you take God and matters of faith in faith. I am a follower but I am a doubter and very very much a questioner, and I have faith that God will meet me where I am at, but I also have days where I doubt it. But God is bigger than me, God is bigger than my questions, my doubts, my unanswered prayers and questions…and sometimes, not all the time, I am okay with that. I am okay with a God I don’t believe in inasmuch as I have faith in.