Is there an anecdote to “Young Evangelicals Getting High?”

Ten or fifteen years ago, it was American evangelical congregations that seemed cutting edge. They had the bands, the coolest youth pastor, professional babysitting for every women’s Bible study, and a church library full of Christian novels. But now, to kids who grew up in that context, it seems a bit dated or disconnected—the same kind of feeling that a 90′s movie gives them. Not that it’s not a church; it’s just feels to them the way that 50′s worship felt to their parents. So they leave. If they don’t walk away from Christianity completely, they head to Rome or something similar.

If you haven’t yet seen it, The Christian Pundit recently featured a post titled, “Young Evangelicals are Getting High.” The author, presumably an evangelical Protestant, notes the increasingly frequent move of low-church evangelicals to high-church liturgical churches like Catholicism and Anglicanism. The author believes that if evangelical churches “teach historical Protestant theology,” the stream of conversions will stop. Maybe. But there are things that cannot be found in other churches, such as apostolic succession and the Eucharist. If people are converting because they like big fancy churches, that’s one thing. If people are converting because they believe they’ve found the fullness of the Christian faith, that’s quite another.

One more note. In the excerpt above the author highlights the evangelical Protestant culture beginning to feel dated. I noticed this too; it’s like what happened to Facebook after everybody’s grandma got a profile. There’s a line between trying to reach people through contextualization and beginning to pander. My guess is that evangelicals may contextualize too much and Catholics not enough. Whatever the case, it’s encouraging to think that nuns may be “cool” again.

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3 thoughts on “Is there an anecdote to “Young Evangelicals Getting High?”

  1. Excellent piece!

    You probably saw the in-depth analysis of the article over on Called to Communion, too, and if you didn’t, it’s well worth a read.

    But, going on from your points, which are spot-on, I do wonder whether the very phenomenon you are outlining – ‘If people are converting because they like big fancy churches, that’s one thing. If people are converting because they believe they’ve found the fullness of the Christian faith, that’s quite another.’ – is at work here, too?:
    http://catholicexchange.com/young-catholics-embrace-latin-mass/

    I think psycho-social phenomena are too often labelled as spiritual ones, especially if it’s convenient to do so. If Latin is seen as counter-cultural, avant-garde, or ‘cool’, it’ll be attractive to the young (your first point), but not as a good in, and of, itself (your second point)…

    ‘There’s a line between trying to reach people through contextualization and beginning to pander. ‘: Couldn’t agree more.

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