Ignorant Christian Youth: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

CT Liveblog posted an article today (or at least linked it today in their daily newsletter) regarding the profound ignorance of Christian youth of many of the basic, need-to-know issues of the faith. For those of you, like me, who are passionate about this subject (i.e. passionate about diagnosing and helping to solve this problem), this post, and the article from which the excerpt was drawn, are must reads.

I'm re-posting this here not to get blog hits (I don't really care), but to dialogue with my faithful readers (i.e. friends, family, classmates, fellow church members, "regulars") about the subject. My objective is quite simple and straightforward: I want to fire as many people up about this as possible, in hopes that, person-by-person, family-by-family, church-by-church, we can reverse this daunting trend. YOU can do something about it, whoever you may be. And you can do it without an inordinate amount of effort (up front, that is). To avoid stealing the wind from your/our sails, I'll save my "how to" recommendations for the comments section.

Let me close with this simple yet profound observation conduced from the article. The cause of this problem is glaringly obvious and basic: our churches and families don't teach basic need-to-knows of Christianity to our children. They may, as the article pointed out, teach the stories and the principles (at best), even the order of books and/or memorization of portions. But that's not all youth (or adults!) need to know to have a very basic understanding of the faith and thus grounding in that faith. Ecclesiastical and canonical history, as well as basic theology and hermeneutics ought not be reserved for academic or vocational theological studies. They don't have to be, and they mustn't be.

For all the effort, time, and money we put towards children's and youth ministries, we ought to be seeing results. We're not. In large measure, we're not. Our youth are leaving for college as trees without roots, and as soon as the sun scorches and the winds blow (and they do, and they will), they are burned or toppled. Because we're not giving kids (or adults, to be honest) the right baskets, let alone the eggs to put in them. To apply a Pauline exhortation, "You should have done the former without neglecting the latter." There has to be content and context, and it can't be done solely from the pulpit. God help us...to step up to the plate and do what He has called us to do in entrusting the faith to the next generations.

Shalom.

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