Progressive Youth Ministry Is Not Safe

Progressive Christians are kidding themselves in believing that their youth are somehow insulated from the influence of the more aggressive forms of conservative cultural Christianity (like this).

Teens’ disillusionment with Christianity will include its inclusive expressions too.

I know youth who have grown up in churches that have long welcomed LGBT persons into membership and leadership who nonetheless feel alienated from Christianity as an exclusive thing. These youth have been schooled in social justice in their Sunday school classes, and yet see the church as something that is at odds with their emerging sense of injustice in the world.

I wonder if our talk has come up short. I wonder if we’ve failed these youth in explaining how our church is different from the ones their friends go to, where you can’t be out and every word of the Bible is preached literally, while not demanding of them the kind of giving of themselves that characterizes Christian discipleship.

Faith, conservative or progressive, has to be lived in ways that stretch us to experience God’s heart for the poor and suffering and God’s thirst for justice in the world. Absent that, it won’t matter to anyone.