Tag Archives: Millennials

Are you having such days?

At last the sun is showing herself after a very long grey period.

As the Director of Missions at Centreville (Virginia) Presbyterian Church, Sharon Hoover probably encounters enough people who also feel that the days are pulling at their end. She too has to make her way on this planet, amidst the joys and struggles — and also sometimes at a glacial pace — toward maturity as a Christ-follower. Through God’s grace, she also has stumbled upon some wisdom in her five decades.

It’s my joy to share thoughts, raise questions, and explore doubts. {Life’s path meanders}

She managed to take beautiful photographs of the world which tries to give enough signs of the Hand of the Most High Divine Creator. There you can find a.o. God’s paintbrush dipped into all the colours when creating the Rainbow Hot Springs (Yellowstone National Park)
But you might also be confronted with the human beings making an impact on the planet. Some good, some not so good.

She is passionate about creating space where people can experience God. This drive motivates her to disciple new believers, speak, and encourage women in their faith journey.

In her region she has to face the same flight away from church like in our regions. She, like many pastors in West Europe, has struggled as people walk away from her home church.

Relocation for employment or family reasons have taken some members. Others have chosen to leave due to differences of opinion, theology, or purposes. Regardless of the reason, it hurts nonetheless. {Why Choose the Church?}

She is been on a church staff for more than 20 years and has heard many people’s stories.

Their faith journeys often include at least one unhealthy church encounter. In my discussions with leaders of other churches, I know this is not unique to my faith community. Church nomads travel into new places of worship every week. Discouraged from a previous church experience yet wanting to be part of the larger family of God, they consider the possibility of new church home. {Why Choose the Church?}

People may be restless. In some countries they may be lucky to find different denominations, having a choice of lots of churches. In the so called Catholic country Belgium every village had its own Roman Catholic church and in cities different Catholic denominations also could be found as well as different protestant churches. Today most Catholic churches are  most of the time empty. The protestant evangelical churches which attract youngsters with their shows and entertainment services still manage to get some few at the service, for which people are prepared to travel some kilometres.

In the United States, of which we so much think of the mega churches, according to Barna’s Trends 2017, church attendance is at an all-time low in that so called Christian State. A mere 35 percent of Americans surveyed reported attending church in the past week. Two-thirds of us chose activity other than being with a faith community. Barna researchers probed further asking why people no longer attend church. Millennials’ responses were especially telling. Their top three answers were:

  •   the church is not relevant to them
  •   they find God elsewhere
  •   they can teach themselves
Sharon Hoover at the Redbud Post writes

Somewhere along the way, we have developed the shortsighted view that church is about our personal experiences. What is in it for me? Choosing to follow Christ is indeed a personal decision, but never was the journey meant to be a solo or private one. After our initial encounter with the Living God, continued growth depends on commitment to a local body of Christ. The church. Internet resources, best-selling books, and a walk in the woods can nurture faith, but it is in community where we learn to love, be patient, show kindness, receive correction, and so much more. {A Love/Hate Relationship with the Church}

Roman Catholic Eucharist

Roman Catholic Eucharist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, lots of people have a quaint feeling about religion. Many have a love-hate relationship with God and with the church. Though lots of people still claim to be Christian, we can not see much of a Christian attitude.  You would think that as Christ-followers they would belong to the family of God. Today there is not much to see of them loving such an association with the Body of Christ. Though

God created us to be in community (Genesis 2:18; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Corinthians 12:27). This universal Church, the one that includes all who call on the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, draws us into a most unique global space of connectedness. {A Love/Hate Relationship with the Church}

In this globalising world we are constantly confronted with world news and lots of languages. Lots of people can go to many places.

Friends and ministry partners allowed me to travel and experience new cultures. I heard languages I had never heard before, ate exotic foods, and found fellow believers in all corners of our planet.

My husband and I faced several life changing circumstances. We became empty-nesters when our daughter headed out for college. I broke my first bone (ouch, my ankle) and he graciously took care of me. Most profoundly, my precious father-in-law Bob passed on to glory. Bob was loved by all who knew him. We mourn our loss but know that Bob is dancing with the Lord and organizing car trips from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same. {Dipping into Memories}

She still can live with many memories, but for many life goes so fast and they are carried away by social-media and their workload, that they forget to live really and before they know the time is gone, and memories have faded by the overload of junk information.

We notice that there are lots of people who struggle but do not have it in them to write it off or to have positive contacts with others pulling them out of the gutter. When Mrs. Hoover struggles with something, she tend to write a lot.

Journaling brings HealingMy initial entry typically makes little sense. It’s an attempt to catalog the crisis. Anger or frustration or animosity emerge in my inability to string words into a legible sentence.

After a while — in some cases it’s the end of that day’s entry, but in other cases, it is weeks or months or years later — my thoughts flow more gracefully. I’m able to find the words. Although the hurt may still be present, I found the ability to grasp my emotions through my journaling. {Journaling: Healing through Private Words}

We may be lucky when we can surrendered emotions onto journal pages, however, the pain flows through the pen and somehow becomes validated.

Pain and confusion take on the form of words. Once we put words to the difficult undercurrents, we begin to move forward in the path of healthy grieving. Faith emerges. A sense of calm replaces the distant and empty feelings. {Journaling: Healing through Private Words}

We get some of those days we can miss like toothache and other days we wonder what we are doing here, whilst other days we would love to happen something here on this earth with us in the centre.

Another day to get dressed, go to work, make dinner, and do the dishes. Also another day to chat with neighbors, meet a friend for coffee, and curl up in my warm bed at night.

But it’s also another day with no burning bush moments like Moses, no Damascus Road experiences like Paul, and certainly no angels like Mary’s Gabriel declaring I had found great favor with the Lord. Again. {Finding Ordinary Perseverance}

English: Steam phase eruption of Castle Geyser...

Steam phase eruption of Castle Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. The steam from the geyser casting a shadow ot itself creating crepuscular rays. Français : Eruption de vapeur du Castle Geyser à Yellowstone. La vapeur créé un jeu d’ombres et de lumière rappelant des Rayons crépusculaires. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some may have their mantra of the day suggesting they ought to have tweetable thoughts throughout the day, sprinkled with Facebook-worthy posts of witty text message screenshots, along with at least one Instagram photo of their food (even if it’s a failed Pinterest attempt) or their outfit-while-standing-with-hand-on-hip-and-leg-slightly-bent. {Finding Ordinary Perseverance}

How many do not let their thoughts been carried away to dark alleys instead of letting them wander on sunny beaches. Either they find it is again a day they do not want to have any more, or they think it was again a day like any other one, wasted … just another day.

We make ourselves crazy when we feel like we have to “be brave and do something courageous” everyday, or face the pressure of “make today the first day of the rest of my life” everyday, or “be the change you want to see in the world” every moment. It’s exhausting. {Finding Ordinary Perseverance}

It is impossible to make of every day a marvellous day let stand an incredible day. It is also not possible to tackle every day on our own. Some days we need others around us to carry us through the day. Not every day can be totally new and different on all parts.

Sometimes, Friends, the bravest thing we can do is to repeat yesterday. The ordinary. One day at a time.

When we look for momentous events daily in our friendships, parenting, job, marriage, and even faith, we set the stage for disappointment. Contentment remains unreachable when the search for adrenaline rush moments becomes our source of significance and fulfillment. {Finding Ordinary Perseverance}

Let’s just work together to take care of our 3rd rock from the sun.

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Scepticals of the Bible

Most people do seem to forget that man does not live on bread alone. Material gain is for most the highest priority in their life. Though all that money and all those interesting gadgets do not seem to make them very happy. Contrary we can see much more unhappiness by those who should be lucky  and happy that they have so much.

In several countries where there is not much good food and not much good drinkable water, people not having good housing, they do find a way to enjoy life and not to worry to much. And there where there are fights going on, rebels making life very awkward, there are many who still manage in those bad conditions to find the straw for life. Mostly it is because they know where they can find the best treasure. Often they are convinced that they can find the best food for them by every word that proceeds out of the Mouth of God. In the industrialised world many have forgotten that they need daily spiritual nourishment from God’s Word in order to withstand the challenges and temptations that bombard us on a daily basis.

According to the fourth annual State of the Bible survey by the Barna Group there are just as many Americans sceptical of the Bible (19 percent) as there are engaged with the Bible. the 2014 research reveals six trends in Bible engagement: from the Bible’s continued role as a cultural icon, to increased digital Bible reading, to a rise in scepticism toward Scripture, particularly among Millennials.

The number of those who are sceptical or agnostic toward the Bible — who believe that the Bible is

“just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice” —

has nearly doubled from 10% to 19% in just three years. This is now equal to the number of people who are Bible engaged — who read the Bible at least four times a week and believe it is the actual or inspired Word of God.

sign at front gate

sign at front gate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The trend of scepticism is even more pronounced among the Millennial generation (who range in age from 18-29), two-thirds are 48 or younger (28% Millennials, 36% Gen-Xers) 68% male opposite 32% female. According to the State of the Bible report, Millennials are

  • Less likely to view the Bible as sacred literature (64 percent in comparison to 79 percent of adults),
  • Less likely to believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to lead a meaningful life (35 percent in comparison to 50 percent of adults), and
  • More likely to never read the Bible (39 percent compared in comparison to 26 percent of adults).

What we in Europe might find surprising is that those Bible sceptics are more likely to identify as Catholic than any other single denomination or affiliation (30%) and are the most-likely segment not to have attended church (87%) or prayed (63%) during the previous week. They are also most likely not to have made a commitment to Jesus that is important in their life today (76%).

From the surveys been taken last year we must not that lots of those trinitarians ( 71% of Americans) did not read the Bible and those who went to Sunday service or mass only heard those verses or quotes from Scripture given by the pastor or priest.  In many countries nearly a quart of those interested in religion watches religious programs on television,  (23% of U.S. adults said to have watched a religious TV program in the past week, 20% listened to religious talk radio).

In the United States 35 Protestant denominations may try to attract those interested in religion. Though with the Roman Catholic Church they may represent 45% of the U.S. population in 1968 and 35% in 2012, they are not able to get a 62% of non-Christian Millennials to read  the Bible.

The Americans seem to be not such passive Christians as the Europeans. From the Millennials there where  81% of practising Christians who posted Scripture online in the past year.

As can be found in the rest of industrialised countries almost 1 in 5 people under 40 in the U.S. now describe themselves as
spiritual but not religious.

Barna, like different Christian denominations are seeing how there is more need of teachers or preachers proclaiming the good News.

David Kinnaman of Barna contends Christians should be challenged to reach out to those who are searching. Those people, he says, are looking for a church that “makes a difference” in the community, including taking care of the poor.

“And a lot of churches are doing that,”

says Kinnaman.

“So part of that is getting outside the walls of the church and doing the things the gospel compels us to do.”

The study also reveals that a vast majority of churchless Americans have attended church but don’t embrace what it means to live out the Christian faith. the American Christians should be aware that they still need to make work to have some of the 10 percent who have never attended a church-service to have them come to look at such a service.

Kinnaman says the challenge is for people to make church more than a “weekly ritual” by making attending church an opportunity to participate in what God is doing in the community.

The churchless are primarily men and in America tend to be less educated, white and unmarried. Churchless confirms that the world has, indeed, altered in significant ways during the last few decades. It’s not just your imagination. Real data confirm how drastically the moral, social and spiritual lives of Americans have changed and are changing. Europe has the idea that most Americans are ‘over-religious’, but about 156 million U.S. adults and children are churchless which mean that churchless Americans = Bigger Than Canada, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa & New Zealand . . . Combined. Only China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the churchgoing half of the United States are larger.

When we look around us and see the youngsters their actions it is not surprising to hear that the younger the generation, the more post-Christian it is. Nearly half of the Millennials qualify as post-Christian (48%), compared to two-fifths of Busters or Gen-Xers (40%), one-third of Boomers (35%) and one-quarter of Elders (28%). Tracking data allows us to trace the increase of anti-church attitudes and behaviours over the past 50 years.

Those most aware of the necessity to do missionary work in the industrialised countries are the non-trinitarians like the Jehovah Witnesses and Christadelphians, though lots of the latter group become so disappointed by the reaction of trinitarians and non-believers that they give it up. After having disappeared from the scene for some time in Europe the Mormons are the other group which still does missionary work in the capitalist countries.

2015 findings of 2014 Barna Group study. About 156 million U.S. adults and children are churchless in 2015.

2015 findings of 2014 Barna Group study.
About 156 million U.S. adults and children are churchless in 2015.

The Bible has been making its way onto box office screens and home TV screens over the year 2014: from Noah to Son of God, people have been watching the Bible, but the 2014 research reveals six trends in Bible engagement: from the Bible's continued role as a cultural icon, to increased digital Bible reading, to a rise in skepticism toward Scripture, particularly among Millennials.

The Bible has been making its way onto box office screens and home TV screens over the year 2014: from Noah to Son of God, people have been watching the Bible, but the 2014 research reveals six trends in Bible engagement: from the Bible’s continued role as a cultural icon, to increased digital Bible reading, to a rise in skepticism toward Scripture, particularly among Millennials.

 

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Additional reading:

  1. When you don’t know what to do and hate yourself
  2. A time for everything
  3. Faith and trial
  4. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  5. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope
  6. Tapping into God’s Strength by Waiting on Him
  7. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  8. Determine the drive
  9. Let me keep to “first importance” things
  10. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  11. God should be your hope
  12. Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark
  13. A new year with hopes and challenges
  14. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  15. Be like a tree planted by streams of water
  16. Better loaves when the heart is joyous
  17. The thought of losing rekindles the joy of having
  18. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life
  19. Joy is not in things, it is in us
  20. Give your tears to God
  21. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  22. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  23. Appointed to be read
  24. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  25. Building up the spirit of the soul
  26. Daily portion of heavenly food
  27. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  28. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  29. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  30. Youth has difficulty Bible Reading
  31. Do Christians need to read the Old Testament
  32. Feed Your Faith Daily
  33. We should use the Bible every day
  34. The manager and Word of God
  35. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  36. Be an Encourager
  37. An ecclesia in your neighbourhood

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Please do find to read:

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  • Excuse My Scepticism (pastorcharleschipere.wordpress.com)
    In our Christian Faith, we are taught to believe rather than to be a doubting Thomas. We are taught to trust rather than mistrust. We are taught to give a person the benefit of the doubt before we dismiss them. But my journey of faith has had some encounters with reality leading me to embrace some sceptical attitude towards some things I have observed in the land of the living.
  • Cultural Fast Facts (garyrohrmayer.typepad.com)
    • 82% of U.S. adults have at least one credit card, including 40% who have 3 or
    more. Just 16% have none.• 50 million Americans have trouble putting food on the table, according to
    Feeding America, a food bank network.• Millennial moms are far more likely than moms of any other generation to be
    raising their kids near or even in the same house as their extended family.

    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1 in 5 pregnancies in
    the U.S. ends with abortion.

    • There are now 3.9 billion urbanites in the world.

    • 80% of U.S. adults believe it is more common for grown children to live with
    their parents now than 20 years ago.

    • 30% of the U.S. population are auditory learners vs. approximately two-thirds
    who are visual learners.

    • 12- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. send or receive an average of 60 texts per
    day.

    19% Bible Lovers/19% Bible Skeptics.

  • The State of the Bible (reflectionsintheword.org)
    This year’s research reveals that skepticism toward the Bible continues to rise. For the first time since tracking began, Bible skepticism is tied with Bible engagement. The number of those who are skeptical or agnostic toward the Bible – who believe that the Bible is “just another book of teachings
  • Skeptical about skepticism (louisproyect.org)
    On Salon.com you can find an article titled “Bill Maher is right about religion: The Orwellian ridiculousness of Jesus, and the truth about moral progress” by Michael Shermer that is an excerpt from his book “The Moral Arc”. He draws a contrast between what some have called “the sky religions”, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam that are tribal in nature rather than universal, and all those great conquests of Modern Civilization such as goodness, justice and truth.
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    Oddly enough, for an outfit so devoted to science and reason, there is little engagement with the science of genetic modification itself. This is not surprising since this intellectual current seems either totally innocent of ecological science, or determined to sweep it under the rug. The moniker Prometheus that Kurtz has given to his publishing outlet suggests an unreconstructed vision of 19th century Progress. Needless to say, this dovetails neatly with the kind of philosophical pragmatism he embraces, which appears totally at home with the agenda of US imperialism.The other big mover and shaker in the world of skepticism is Michael Shermer, who is much younger than Paul Kurtz and is the publisher of Skeptic Magazine. While targeting all the usual suspects (UFO’s, Bigfoot, ESP, etc.), Shermer has also investigated bogus history. He is the author of a book focusing on the libel case against David Irving, a holocaust denier.Just as with Kurtz, Shermer casts a wide net in his crusade against the forces of anti-scientific darkness. Such forces include those who believe that there is a Gulf War Syndrome and that silicone breast implants might be harmful.
  • Millennials: Escape the Credit/Debt Matrix (consciouslifenews.com)
    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, December, 2014, 1 in 5 of the Millennial generation (birth years from early 1980s to early 2000) live in poverty and have lower rates of employment compared to their Baby Boomer parents of a similar age in the 1980s, one of the most prosperous eras of American history.Obviously, the Millennials need a place to live (besides with their parents), clothes on their back, food to eat and resources to care for their children. Not to mention time and money for travel, and doing fun things, as well. Oh and then there is saving and investing for the future.
  • Good News, Millennials: You Don’t Have to Save the Church (christianitytoday.com)
    We find ourselves facing into “millennial anxiety” as well as concern about the “rise of the nones” (those who do not identify with any religious tradition, a cohort that is apparently growing in the West). Like some reverse Paul Revere, many ride through the fiber optics of the Internet and into church basements shouting, “The millennials are leaving! Watch out for the rise of the nones!” Simply put, millennial anxiety—a concern shared by both mainline and evangelical churches—is the fear that those between ages 18 and 25 have little interest in the church, and that the church has failed to convince them to stay.
  • Millennial Men: Risk Takers or Dupes? (talentzoo.com)
    Well, according to a study by Creditcards.com, Millennial men are “more easily swayed” by advertising than Millennial women. Yes, men of this generation are much more likely than the general American population to trust advertising.Now does that make them idiots or trusting?We (though obviously biased) would like to consider our generation as the latter.
  • Did you hear? Millennials will overtake Baby Boomers in Population this Year (theposhboomer.com)
    Millennials are defined as being between ages 18 to 34 in 2015. Boomers are now ages 51 to 69.Census data says that there are a projected 75.3 million Millennial’s this year. This year Millenial’s are surpassing the 74.9 million Gen Xer’s (ages 35 to 50). Millenial’s are projected to outnumber us Boomers by 2028.
  • Fully Satisfied (culturalatheist.wordpress.com)
    It began about the time this age cohort reached adulthood, with the 1999 publication of Saving the Millennial Generation: New Ways to Reach the Kids You Care About in These Uncertain Times. It accelerated when some polls in the mid-2000s began to suggest millennials’ waning interest in church. Enter “millennials and church” into a search engine, and soon enough you are pointed to sites that proclaim, “Ten reasons churches are not reaching millennials,” or, “Why millennials are leaving church.” The latter article quickly garnered some 100,000 page views not long ago.This past October, the 2014 Alignment Conference featured Barna’s David Kinnaman and pastor and church planter Dave Ferguson talking about millennials, who present a “game changing moment” for the church. Gen2 Leadership Conference is meeting this month with the theme, “Fighting for the Heart of the Millennial Generation.”We find ourselves facing into “millennial anxiety” as well as concern about the “rise of the nones” (those who do not identify with any religious tradition, a cohort that is apparently growing in the West). Like some reverse Paul Revere, many ride through the fiber optics of the Internet and into church basements shouting, “The millennials are leaving! Watch out for the rise of the nones!” Simply put, millennial anxiety—a concern shared by both mainline and evangelical churches—is the fear that those between ages 18 and 25 have little interest in the church, and that the church has failed to convince them to stay.
  • The Millennials Are All Right (blackchristiannews.com)
    Millennials are both high tech and high touch. They have less faith in religious and political institutions.  It extends to the private sector, too: 71 percent of Millennials would rather go to the dentist than step into a bank branch. As many one-third of millennials are willing to switch banks in the next 90 days. What would encourage them to join your organization or become a customer?

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