Social Faith: Part I – “Where are our young people now?”

The following is part of a series of interviews conducted in preparation for the development of our new module for emerging adults: young men and women, out of college, who are as yet unmarried. In an effort to plan activities and discussion groups, we sought to reach out to a diverse cross-section of people. 

What follows in this, and subsequent installments, is the highlights. Here, you will find a range of opinions: some uncertain, some confident, some optimistic—and all of them thought provoking.

In this week’s installment, we profile where some of our young people are, in terms of their own sense of faith. Subsequent installments will cover the greatest challenges they feel this generation is facing, and finally, potential new directions for living in the church.

 

Part I: Where are they now?

The first interviewee is a 29 year-old male who works as a realtor. The second interviewee is a 29 year-old female who works for a non-profit in public policy. The third interviewee is a 25 year-old male PhD student.

FLM: How would you describe your own personal sense of faith at this moment in time?

Interviewee #1:Right now, I’m probably more spiritual than I am actively religious… I think for me, because I stay active [with] my schedule and everything else, attending church and being active in the church, from a physical perspective, is a little bit difficult. “Could I be more active? Probably. Do I still have a spiritual life? Absolutely…”

“I think that, as I’ve become more educated, it has made me question more of the church, but at the same time, I haven’t necessarily lost faith. Is my faith as strong as it was when I was younger? Probably not… I’ve always been a firm believer in science, and there’s certain things that I’ve seen throughout the years that have made me just question certain events. You know, when I look at Biblical history, and then I look at some scientific reasoning, it does make me question some things. At the same time…I have been in more scientific circles than I have been in religious circles.”

 

Interviewee #2: “I think that I am more involved than a lot of my friends, and it’s something that benefits me, but it’s also something that I really value…It’s something that I work at, in terms of staying involved, but I think it’s some that’s important.”

“I find that I will go more often if I am involved. Sometimes, even though I am feeling lazy, I know that I want to be there; and I feel better having gone on a Sunday than sleeping in. So that definitely is a big incentive for me. In addition to the fact that I don’t live in Atlanta anymore, every time I move to a new city, the best way to meet new people and to make it feel like it’s my city, is to become involved.

 

Interviewee #3: I feel like it’s a big part of my life. I try to go to church every week…It’s always been that way. Not going to church was not really an option. Both my parents were Sunday school teachers for like twenty years, so we were always there…”

[As an undergrad at UVA there were a great many problems with the local Greek Church, which was closed due to an acrimonious lawsuit.] “I could have gone to the Ukrainian church that was 30 minutes away; but I thought ‘I’m not going to the Ukrainian church, I’m Greek!’ [laughter]. And so when you don’t have church, you think, ‘This is weird, I’m supposed to be going to church right now.’ So maybe once you see that it’s not there, you think ‘I need to be there.’ But attendance has really been an all the time thing.”

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