I read an article in Christianity Today on line called "The Leavers: Young Doubters Exit the Church."
As I have written about this before some of my thoughts are already out there. I wanted to highlight a couple of issues raised by this article.
- "Poor Job of the Church in answering questions". I agree with this. My own struggles in faith are usually intensified by the pious, but shallow, answers most Christians give to me. "God said it, I believe it, that settles it" is not helpful to someone who is not sure God said it the way you interpret it. Of course, it is hard to teach kids in Sunday School because they are rarely interested. Even so, I fear I have not prepared our youth enough to face the big questions.
- "Moral Compromise." The author said that many young adults leave the faith because they are engaging in a life style which is contrary to the demands of Christian faith. One man is quoted that the Christian God demands obedience while his nature gods (Wicca) do not. I think this is a huge motivation. I have seen in my own life that there are times when I leave prayer discipline and faithfulness because I am engaged in behaviors which are not in line with the faith. Many of my parishioners who have left (some in 40's and 50's) also have some questionable behaviors going on in their life. I think the crisis of the church is related to individualism and self-generated morality. We as church have done a bad job dealing with real questions, but sometimes when we make it clear Christianity is too much for many people today.