Saturday, March 7

What makes a Cast Away Christian? Reason #1

I began this blog by telling you a little bit about who I am and now I would like to talk a little about the Cast Away Christian Society. Cast Away Christians are Generation X and Generation Y for the most part. They are a new generation of young adults (roughly 20's and 30's) who are trying to decide what part religion plays in their life. They want to know how to incorporate a deep faith in Jesus Christ with a world that is confusing and sometimes hostile towards Christianity. I see four major reasons we feel like cast aways in the church and over the next few blogs, I would like to discuss these reasons.

The first is society and social norms. Being an Episcopalian in this society, especially in the South, is very difficult. There two sayings representing what Episcopalians are taught from the day they step in to an inquires class that make this statement true. They are:

Go forth and tell no one and Jesus died to take away your sins, not your brain.

One of these is a statement that allows us to remember that questioning and doubt are parts of our humanity and are important to our lives as Christians which is an integral part of the Episcopal faith. The other is a statement that is meant as a joke, but is true to who we are as Episcopalians. We are very used to keeping our faith close to our chests and not always sharing it. I think both of those things have made being an Episcopalian in this society difficult. People in our group always say "to our Christian friends, we are not Christian enough" because we do not adhere to a bunch of strict rules that require us to all agree and live by the same principles. But "to our non-Christian friends, we are Christians" which makes us the enemy from the get go. People in our generation don't know many Christians who don't want to proselytize and "save" everyone. They don't understand that we also are just trying to figure things out and that we just want to show them Jesus through our actions and not our words. It puts us in a very lonely category. And when we have no church body to help us discover how to navigate all this, it makes the situation even worse. I hear young adults all the time asking for ways to get mentors inside the church body who will listen and help them understand how to make it through this difficult time in life.

Just to clarify, some of the issues I just spoke about do apply to all Gen X and Gen Y people. We all have to find a way to integrate our Christianity into a society that for the most part is antagonistic towards faith. They see faith as a repressive thing that can only constrict and suffocate them from the things they like to do. If you cuss, drink, have sex, or "do anything fun" then you aren't acting in a Christian like manner. They don't want to be part of an organization that tells them that all the things they enjoy, things that society and our peers have told us is cool to be doing, are wrong and bad. They want to be able to have fun and explore a deeper relationship with God without the pressure of being perfect. I mean seriously, aren't your 20's supposed to be about finding out who you are and what you want your life to look like? Doesn't grace account for the ability to be yourself and make mistakes?

1 comment:

  1. Dear friend,

    You are absolutely right. Even though I found my church now, I consider myself as a "castaway Christian".

    Why? For me personally, even as a young adult who comes to church regularly by myself now (maybe because of my quiet nature and people's knowledge of me being a sports nut), people often times took a conservative route and went with "how are you doing?" or "how's school?" rather than questions of "what do you think of the sermon today?" or any conversation starters that involves God/spirituality.

    What can we do? I feel the most direct way is to discuss stuff like this with people you know, whether it's comments on social network sites, emails, or even phone calls. Sure, you might not get a response right away. But at least it's a start. After all, it's always good to "develop your spiritual muscles".