CNN has put a thoughtful article on “Christianity”-if you could call it that-of teenagers and their parents. I highly recommend checking this out.
One of the article’s points is that many teenagers don’t believe in the gospel but this:
…..”a moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.
Unfortunately very accurate in my experience with youth. But also accurate was the author’s challenge for parents to explain WHY they do certain things. Is it their faith which moves them to show love for others, or are things done out of moralism? Without explanation, because truth is best taught while it is being caught, we leave our children with nothing but “the gospel of niceness.” I love that line.
The last very helpful point the author raises, which all centers around Kendra Chrissy Dean in her book Almost Christian, is the negative affect parents can have on their children’s spirituality. Youth are now growing up noticing there is little difference between Christians and non-Christians. Here’s but a small suburban example.
The parents next door don’t claim to be Christian, and have no qualms about skipping church for sports or any other activity that pops up. But I wonder how many Christian parents even ask the question, “What is this teaching my child, and what will be the best for HIS or HER faith down the road?” Regardless of where you land with the church and sporting events, and what is acceptable or not acceptable in regards to participation in such Sunday activities, it’s hard to argue against simply asking and honestly answering that question.
With Connar growing up loving anything to do with “balls,” I’ll soon be fighting this battle-but battles can be well worth it. It is foolish to think that years of any behavior which ignores Jesus’ daily Lordship will go unnoticed by our kids. Guess what commitment to the gospel and church they’ll soon have if they don’t see it in us. Will we continue to see kids grow up to be “Almost Christian?” I hope not, but this is a sobering reminder to parents, pastors, children and youth workers.