Friday, March 20, 2009

The Kids Are Alright

So says Pete Townshend and so says blogger Mike King:

Unfortunately, one of the most successful strategies for funding youth ministry involves demonizing young people. This process involves painting a picture using statistics, stories and alarmist scare tactics in order to convince adults to give money to help reach the youth culture because “it’s never been worse.” . . .

Here is my problem with this. Today’s teenagers are no more sinful than today’s adults. . . . Unfortunately, the stories of today’s youth who are doing amazing things don't get a lot of press. They are proportionately much more engaged in community development, volunteerism, and global issues than their parents’ generation. I am thrilled to see increasing numbers of young people embracing a compelling vision to co-operate with our Triune God’s mission in the world.

Word. I get sick of reading on youth ministry and parenting blogs about how teens today are particularly at risk or are somehow morally depraved. I understand that the millennial generation has its problems (foremost the music it has chosen to listen to), but its problems—in my view—are no greater than those of its predecessors. When I think of this current crop of youngsters, some of words that come to mind are "awareness" and "sacrifice" and "compassion." Sure, these words don't describe all adolescents today, and millennials are by no means immune to selfishness and greed. But, as King says, kids today are proportionately more invested than previous generations in the vision of God's kingdom articulated in Scripture—good news to the poor, release to the captives, freedom to the oppressed, and all that.


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