The Question Matters

Gen X Resurrection: From Religion to Faith

Posted in Change,Generation X by treyfinley1008 on March 30, 2010
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With apologies to Law and Order, the religious services system is formed by two separate but equal groups–the community of faith and the institutions that serve them.  The tough part, of course, is that these two separate but equal groups often need very different things.  I’ll get straight to the point–churches that must devote a great deal of their resources (money, time, administrative work) to the needs of the institution are a dying breed.  No, not because there are fewer of them, but because they are dying.  There are, in fact, a great many churches that have already died and many more are on their deathbed.  I take no joy in seeing churches in spiritual hospice and funeral homes.

Generation X has a nose for hypocrisy, a heightened sense of smell for that which doesn’t ring true.  At the risk of over-simplifying, a church that must pay so much attention to its institutional responsibilities that its service to all people suffers, is a church that many members of Generation X will not attend.  Or at least, they don’t anymore.  The institution and the faith of Gen Xers have very different needs.

The institution needs clarity.  Faith requires uncertainty. I have had no greater transformation in my own faith walk than this: I can choose to be at peace even when I’m in a place where I am not certain of what God is or is not doing.  For some, that would be horrifying.  For me, it is freeing and transformative.  It is a healthy tension between a faith that God is there and the very real possibility that I may not see, hear, or feel him in that place.  Generation X is comfortable with doubt, questions, and curiosity.  These are crucial components of faith.

The institutions’ needs must be served.  Faith requires serving. Debt “service” is an ironic phrase, is it not?  Perhaps it’s a little too true–see the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6, verse 24.  For sure, a church has fiscal and physical responsibilities.  Those responsibilities create opportunities for people to give of their gifts and time.  I cannot help but think that these moments spent in fiscal discernment are moments that could be spent in the happy dilemma of who to serve.

I could go on.  My call to those others of you born between 1961 and 1981 is this: be part of a community of faith.  Do not give in to the temptation to live your faith alone.  Live your faith alongside others who are, in Tolkiens’ words, wanderers yet not lost.  Please, don’t rob others of the gift you have to give them–the firm conviction that faith lived in pursuit of certainty and in service to institutions is a destitute faith.  When Generation X returns to church (and history tells us that many of us will), our authenticity, intense practicality, and earnest skepticism will add a bright palette of faithful color to the dull grays of institutional religion.


3 Responses to 'Gen X Resurrection: From Religion to Faith'

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  1. Hey, Sis. Thanks for paging back to read this post. Glad to hear your good news today.

  2. Rhesa said,

    May we find a willing canvas…

  3. 2mannasisters said,

    This is inspiring. -Marla

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