The RANT Starts Here!!
Ok, I have had enough. This blog is more of a rant. So, if you are having a great day, I would invite you not to read on any further. The exits are here, here, here, and here (you have to imagine me pointing to your keyboard).
Let’s talk “Millennials.” Not sure that’s a true word, but what the heck: this is my blog. What is a millennial? It appears from reading and googling, and googling and reading, that the millennials are people born between 1980 and the 2000s. It’s ok if we generalize a little bit here. I read articles that keep getting posted by well-meaning people, well-meaning Christian people, well-meaning Christian, right wing American, I’m guessing Republican, white people, who seem to think that they speak for everyone when they post their articles. Before you go all conservative crazy on me, I fit in to that category mostly. Mostly, but not completely.
As I write this blog, a millennial whom I haven’t seen since I did his wedding 2 years ago wrote me a note thanking me for setting him on the right path, giving him room to question things, pouring into him, and then showing him gently the truth of Jesus and the Bible. He and his wife are extremely involved in Church and discipleship, and they went to Africa this past summer because they ache for lost people around the world. I’m not blowing my horn here; I am celebrating the fact that this is NOT unusual in the circles I minister in.
THE DOWN SIDE:
They don’t attend a little white church with a 1000 foot steeple, and brass plaques with people’s names on them all over everything in the church from, pews, paintings, to communion tables and everything else that can make a person look good because they gave to God. Please let’s announce our giving to everyone (Jesus clearly said not to do that) so every one can know how holy grandma and grandpa were.
Millennials in Leadership
I see millennials in leadership changing concepts of leadership and wanting to SERVE the world in areas of evangelism, justice, oppression, racism; it kind of looks like Isaiah 58. Yeah, maybe they should stop that. Maybe they should be more concerned about wearing a tie to church, making grandma proud instead of Jesus, and fitting into some kind of American Political Artificial Christian box. They should be more concerned about going to a church that sings songs about God written in the 1700s instead singing songs TO God (let’s just ignore the scripture “sing to the Lord a new song:” Psalm 96, 98, 149, Isaiah 42) because God probably isn’t interested in his children that are alive today writing new music that represents their hearts and love for him. What are these millennials thinking? And then they do it with instruments that probably more resemble what is mentioned biblically (Revelation, Psalms) than an organ. I guess none of that really matters, but to some it IS the issue.
Who cares if the Millennials’ church is in the mall, the storefront, the school, or some back room somewhere? If it is supposed to be in a building, then what are we saying to the underground church, the persecuted church, the struggling church and the church that is trying to take Jesus to the people rather than demand that people come to the building? HECK, the building ISN’T the church anyway. But then, I’m not sure the generation and the people writing these articles get that either.
Now, to be sarcastic…
Yeah, these millenials are a pretty slovenly group as they pretend to embrace a watered down Jesus, with all that “rock and roll” music and those personal songs that are amazing: God doesn’t want that crap! Don’t even get me started on their tattoos and their piercings. OH, and the color of their hair.
I’m not saying they don’t have problems, but before you start throwing rocks at them, look at the divorce rate of their parents. You know, those people that are producing and leading the organizations that print and post these articles. But then, Jesus didn’t really mean those things he said about divorce, loving your enemy, using worldly wealth to make friends, and denying yourself. No, those people claiming to be the example to follow are fighting with their neighbors over the length of their grass, the boat that was parked in the driveway too long, and the dog who pooped on the grass.
Really important things that change the world and all.
I pastored that church. There were a couple grandmas that didn’t like that I had a mustache when I came, but then they didn’t like that I shaved it off. They didn’t want musical instruments in the church, but their children played Metallica at home on guitars and amplifiers. They kept me at or below the poverty level for approximately ten years, though the church was very, very well off. Yeah, that was a great church. There were wonderful people there, don’t get me wrong; but, through that organization God taught me a lot about how to NOT reach people, so I moved on. I think I could go on, but it would just keep getting a little rougher.
Suffice to say, this generation is getting an undeserved bad rap. Lighten up and look at your generation; you taught them. A little old lady from a church I pastored years ago said it best, “as go the sheep, so go the lambs” (thank you, Ina).
The rant is now officially over.
Thank you for making it this far. Please wait to get up until we reach the gate. Remember, your emotions may have shifted during this blog, so open your arguments carefully. Grab your heart and hold on to it. Please do not cross your own convictions, but lighten up on the Millennials.
I promise not judge you by the few “pew-sitters” if you stop judging the whole of the Millennials by a few as well. I promise there are inspirational Millennials out there; you might even sit next to them in church, or they may be your grandkids or your kids. Their worship is not going to look like yours because they aren’t you; the world has changed since you got saved. You use an organ, they have newer instruments. It’s ok.
Choose to believe the best about them. Support, encourage and celebrate their relationships to Jesus. Pour into them. Talk with them. Don’t be offended when they challenge the status quo. The church of Jesus, the BRIDE of CHRIST, is in really good hands as I see this generation embracing Christianity. It’s their need to search it out and not blindly accept whatever you say: that is causing the problems, as I see it anyway. With permission I close with a quote from a millennial: addressing an article that dressed his generation down, he says, “That [anti-millennial] mindset is the quickest way to kill a seeker’s curiosity of who Jesus is.” He takes great issue with the article at point number three:
“No. 3: Jesus is one of many ways to heaven.”
“What?!” Come on. Really? I can easily see how the author of this article would lump me into his broken view on younger Christians. I know this to be not true. I know Jesus is God’s only son who came to die to MY SINS because God loves me that much. To love me that much means he cares for me and knows what is best for me – like a father but also set out clear expectations to follow like a good King. This is not fair that these assumptions and judgments are made and put on this article to FUEL the disconnect between the “traditional church” and “millennial Christians”. Sad.”
Thanks for flying with me tonight. God bless you as you all chase after knowing God.