Shame

shame

Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Genesis 2:25

 In light of my posts about our post-Christian culture, I thought it important to unpack an attribute of most millennials as well as Gen Z.  It will provide insights into the millennial mind and how they come to their opinions and values.

I have had the good fortune of meeting with two men for close to 25 years. One of them, Ralph Ennis, is what I have described to others as a Christian rocket scientist. Among other things, he studies cultures and cultural trends.  Having listened to him for years, many of the things that he has observed of the next generation are starting to make sense.

One of Ralph’s observations of the next generation is that they are “Asian” in their outlook and world view. What does that mean? Well, understanding this concept may aid mentors and parents in how their mind thinks.  It also has important implications to the Church and our culture in how we guide them through our Romans 1 cultural universe.

As background and for context, that portion of the Western world that went through the Reformation developed a value system that held truth and the rule of law as top values. The rest of the world – including the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Asian cultures – do not share these values.

Instead, when Ralph describes someone having an Asian outlook, he means that the highest cultural values is shame.  In Japan and Asia, it is called loss of face. Truth will take a back seat if a decision has to be made which will cause someone to be shamed. I saw this firsthand in representing many Japanese clients in my legal career.

I observed decisions by Japanese clients that did not make sense. Instead of correcting a mistake, they deferred doing anything to correct it.  To confront the truth that a bad decision had been made would have caused the person who made the decision to lose face. Shame can be a strong deterrent, but it is a weak substitute for the guard rails of right and wrong.

Joseph Stalin said: “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” For decades, the soviet people were controlled by their education in a Godless culture. The state was their god.  By the middle 1980’s, the leaders realized that something was missing – their people had not learned morality and ethics.

Trying to correct this educational void, they seized upon teaching Christianity in their school system as a way of teaching morals and ethics. The Soviet Ministry of Education reached out to the United States, and Co-Mission was created. It was a 5-year project sponsored by 80 different Christian ministries, churches and parachurches. They trained over 1,500 volunteers who went into the former Soviet Union to teach Christianity in the schools.

Think about that for a second. We look like Russia in many ways today. We have taken Christianity out of the public-school systems over the past 50 years. No wonder our next generation doesn’t understand right from wrong.  They are no better than Adam and Eve who didn’t think being naked was wrong, so they felt no shame.

The Soviets realized it was a mistake in their their education. We, in the United States, haven’t seen it that way…….yet.

In a post-Christian world, where right and wrong has been lost, the Asian outlook will explain the “how and why” of the next generation.

Since they don’t see things as black and white (i.e. right or wrong), they intuit their values by what appears to be good, and they will absorb what their peers are thinking, largely on social media. You can call that “group-think”. Unfortunately, their peers are equally as clueless as they are.

The implication of this on the Church is interesting. We have been brought up for the past 50 years on a guilt-based Gospel.  We are told that Jesus will save us from our sins. But if your worldview is non-Christian, that model won’t work so well anymore. The next generation often does not see some deviant behavior as a sin.

Ergo, they don’t see the need to be saved from something they don’t view as wrong. As the passage says, they feel no shame just as Adam and Eve didn’t feel shame in the garden of Eden. The four spiritual laws may no longer be an effective tool in the Evangelical toolbox.

One result of this Asian outlook is the fairly rapid retreat from the Christian value of marriage as being between a man and a woman. The next generation, having no biblical moorings, used observable data points which involved seeing gay couples who appeared to not be all that bad.

Hence, we now have same-sex marriages made legal thanks to the Obergefell decision in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. The millennials didn’t view the issue from biblical perspective and so their decision tree was largely based on the fact that homosexuality didn’t seem harmful and therefore was OK.

The Obergefell case was a shock to much of the Evangelical community because, just 10 years before, public opinion was strongly in favor of the traditional marriage between a man and a woman. A cultural convention that has existed for over 2,000 years was erased in just 10 years.  I can only imagine what will changes we may see going forward.

Why is this important?  Well it aids one in understanding how the next generation views the world.  The lines between right and wrong have gotten blurred, and instead, their attitudes toward culture is often determined by observation and their peers (who, by the way, are equally clueless).  That’s a very slippery slope.

The implications of this are still being played out. Generation Z (those under 20), for example, are turned off by Christian attitudes towards the LGBT world. They see it as judgmental. This attitude will shape how the church embraces this generation in the future.

This Asian outlook is troubling particularly in the #MeToo environment. The next generation has absorbed a belief that sex outside of marriage is fine since no one seems to be harmed, and that it is OK to be a predator as a male because that is expected male behavior.

Neuroscientists tell us that the brain of an adolescent is not fully formed until they are in their early 20’s. Combining the Asian value outlook with the constant intake of violent and often graphically sexual media is a very troubling recipe.

It also helps explain how you have young people who have a proclivity to violent behavior. They are watching videos and media that is so graphic and violent that their sense of the value of human life and dignity is lost. They haven no filter in this arena.

Ralph Ennis told me something several years ago that stuck. He said that what you see in the media and on TV today will become the norm in our culture within 10 years.  One only has to look at what movies are like and TV shows to see how this has worked.  In the recent Oscars, 22 films that celebrated LGBT causes received awards. I rest my case.

Over the past several decades, parents have abandoned their role in teaching their children values and morality. They have abdicated that responsibility and instead relied on the schools to do the job. It’s a bad choice for many reasons.

It’s no surprise that home-schooled children continue to have more bedrock Christian values instilled in them. Their parents are not taking the chance for a school to do the job for them. Good for them, but unfortunately, they are a small population compared to all in the next generation.

Our challenge is to meet and interact with the next generation who are not moored to Biblical values.  It’s our job as mentors to help their world view. To the extent that they lack biblical knowledge, it’s important to encourage them to at least get in the habit of doing a daily devotional.

For other mentees, it may necessitate reading a book and digesting it together. That means “homework”. In the context of mentoring, it may be necessary to overcome their Asian outlook.  A mentor’s role is to take the mentee to the next level in all aspects of their life.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Do not shy away from challenging your mentee in the area of biblical discipleship. That may mean taking the initiative to make a bible study part of your sessions. It may be the best thing you can do for them.

FURTHER STUDY: A book has been written by Joseph M. Stowell about the amazing Co-Mission experience entitled “The CoMission: The Amazing Story of 80 Mission Groups Working Together to Take the Message of Christ’s Love to the Russian People.” It is available from Amazon.

WORSHIP:  Listen to the “Come to the Table” which reminds us that God’s grace extends to all even if you are on the outside.  https://955thefish.com/content/music/sidewalk-prophets-come-to-the-table-official-lyric-video

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.com.  SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.

 

 

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#MeToo

MeToo

 “Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.” Exodus 2: 16,17

I haven’t regularly addressed cultural issues that arise from to time. This one has caught my attention, both as to what is right with it and what is missing. In preparing for this post, I read dozens of posts, mostly from women victims.  I felt led to write a post giving a male perspective to this issue. It’s a voice that is needed.

For context to those who are not aware of what #MeToo is about, it started with the disclosure of Harvey Weinstein as being a sexual predator. Weinstein, a well-known producer in Hollywood, recently had over 60 women go public to say that he sexually assaulted or raped them.

Until that publicity came, it was a dirty secret in Hollywood. Everyone looked the other way. The victims remained silent. Then, last year, an actress, Alyssa Milano, used twitter to encourage women who had been sexually assaulted or harassed to tweet #MeToo.  Within a day, it had half a million tweets.

The hashtag phrase became a rallying cry to those who had been victimized but who, for many reasons, have kept silent about it.  Until #MeToo, many women treated sexual harassment or abuse as “something unspoken, something private, something to be ashamed at acknowledging” according to Sophie Gilbert in The Atlantic.

Soon, other occupations – media, business, politics, modeling, music, academia, and yes, even in the church – have had the #MeToo spotlight put on them. The daily news is replete with accounts of yet another highly visible person who has been accused of misconduct.

I was astonished at the number of women coming forth saying “#MeToo”.  But, as I think about how we got to this point, I have to admit that the issue is not new. King David had his way with Bathsheba, and then went so far in his “cover-up” by conveniently arranging for the death of Bathsheba’s husband by having him sent to the front lines of the battlefield to be killed.

One thing is clear in my review of articles: women are vulnerable in a way that men aren’t. A victim of a sexual assault leaves deep wounds. Men, like me, have a hard time grasping the damage that has been caused. Those wounds last for years – sometimes decades.

I have been in touch with Rachel Denhollander, an Olympic gymnast who testified at the sentencing portion of Dr. Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse trial. She was the last of 150 women to testify, all of whom told their story of his abuse over the previous 20 years.

Her testimony was riveting. She was aused by Dr. Nassar at age 15. She is now married with three children and an articulate lawyer whose mission is to provide resources for leaders to educate them and understand the issues.

I now have a better understanding of the scope and incredible damage done to these young women.  Most have been preyed on by predators who took advantage of their age, position or power.

They have been violated but most stayed silent because of the perceived risks: “What will my family, friends, pastor, etc. say if I tell them what happened to me, and what I have been going through all this while?” That is an actual quote from someone I know.

With this enhanced understanding, I have been pondering how our culture has permitted this. The answers, I believe, are multiple. In the 1960’s, promiscuity became the norm. In the 1970’s, colleges added to the problem when they created co-ed dorms. Our public schools changed their sex-ed curriculum, often using courses sponsored by Planned Parenthood, that teach “safe sex” without any moral boundaries.

When Christianity got thrown out of public schools, we lost a means of teaching morality and respect. As a result, sex has been promoted and dumbed down to getting consent of the other party. There is no moral perspective of having sex outside of marriage or what is right or wrong.

The results are predictable. We have been teaching that aggressive sexual behavior is OK, when it is not. Getting consent may be as easy as providing the second drink. Two stories recently reinforced this.

There is the story of the fraternity at Cornell which had a competition to see who could have sex with the heaviest coed. And if that isn’t enough, two women teachers recently have said #MeToo and disclosed that they have been sexually harassed a dozen times by high school students over the past 15 years. What’s wrong with this picture?

To see how far we have gone, the 2018 Olympic Committee handed out 110,000 condoms for athletes at the Winter Olympics this year, which is 10,000 more than the last winter Olympics. And that’s not the record which was recorded in the Summer Olympics in Brazil in 2016 where 450,000 condoms were handed out.

As the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan College, Everett Piper, noted in an interview, this avalanche of sex scandals was predictable. “What we’ve been teaching [in the public schools] for the past several decades…..has mocked morality. Why are we shocked to find we live in a society that has no understanding of personal morality?”

Piper’s summary: “If you teach lechery, you produce lechers.”  What the #MeToo movement has missed is that personal morality needs to return to our culture, and we can’t expect it to come from the schools. The Church has to stand tall as do Christian men.

According to a study done by the Harvard Graduate School, 87% of women between the ages of 18 and 25 have experienced some form of sexual assault or harassment. It’s mostly a male problem, although 15% of men have had similar experiences.

Even medicine has its problems. A study in 1995 showed that 52% of women in academic medicine said they had been sexually harassed according to NBC News. Medicine has been described as a male dominated profession.

Dorothy Greco, in Relevant Magazine, says that if we want fewer #MeToo stories, men need to step up and “condemn and interrupt misogynistic behavior.”

Condemnation is not enough. What I find lacking in the #MeToo movement is that there is no public discussion of personal morality. None. While calling abusers out is a good thing, I think we need to look at the root causes and start to work on that side of the equation with men.

I have grappled with what the Christian response should be, particularly when some of this abuse has occurred in the Church.  Christian voices on this topic have been muted, which is why I am taking this on. We need clear guidance on dealing with epidemic that has been culturally swept under the rug.

We have heard from the victims, but it is time to hear from men. Men who are not abusers need to speak up against those who are. We need to become Moses who came to the rescue of the seven daughters at the Midian well in Exodus 2.

We need to teach males how to be men, something that is lacking in our world. Many males “have not been mentored into manhood or were mentored badly” according to James Emory White in his blog “Church and Culture”.  That’s a clarion call for mentors of the next generation.

The sociological breakdown of the family unit, and the disappearance of fathers in many marriages has only exacerbated the problem.  Teaching and modeling morality in the home has declined. In many cases, parents have abdicated their responsibility in this area to the schools. It’s a bad choice.

The challenge is for mentors to guide their mentees to become men. Manhood involves a developed concept of personal morality and respect for women. Mentors need to model it in their own lives.  They need to speak out against those who have been sexually abusive, even in the church, which has dropped the ball in helping victims or dealing with abuses within its walls.

Just ask Rachael Denhollander who found that poor theology “has caused churches to deal poorly with sex abuse victims”. She said that going public “cost me my church and my closest friends.”  She’s correct: forgiveness and justice are both biblical and must go hand in hand.

Our additional challenge is to be sure that our churches become better at helping abuse victims, as well as being outspoken on the topic. It is an issue that is front and center, and it needs to get some traction from our leaders.  Silence is not golden when it comes to sex abuse.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  You can help your mentees learn what manhood Is. Becoming a man is about by showing them that character, respect and personal morality matters. Be proactive in asking probing questions about their attitudes to be sure they are on the right path.

FURTHER STUDY: An article in Christianity Today on God’s message for #MeToo victims:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2018/january/gods-message-to-metoo-victims-and-perpetrators.html   

Rachel Denhollander’s testimony: https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/24/us/rachael-denhollander-full-statement/index.html

Rachel Denhollander’s article in Christianity Today highlighting the price she paid for going public in her church: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/january-web-only/rachael-denhollander-larry-nassar-forgiveness-gospel.html

The distribution of condoms at the Olympics: http://time.com/5137272/condoms-at-olympics/

The story of Eva Rieder, a math and English teacher,  which contains a video of her presentation in front of the school board of her experiences with male students: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5388817/Teacher-claims-male-students-sexually-harassed-her.html

The Cornell Fraternity suspended for its competition to have sex with heavy women: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/02/cornell-fraternity-zeta-beta-tau-suspended-for-offensive-pig-roast-game.html

A Christian perspective of what needs to happen to have less #MeToo victimshttps://relevantmagazine.com/culture/if-we-want-less-metoo-stories-heres-what-has-to-happen/

Sexual abuse in medicine: https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/sexual-misconduct/harassed-hospitals-operating-rooms-women-medicine-await-their-metoo-moment-n846031

On Becoming Men by James Emory White: http://www.churchandculture.org/blog.asp?id=12210

WORSHIP:  Listen to Natalie Grant sing “Clean” which is a message of hope and how God can make us clean again. Natalie Grant – Clean (Live) – YouTube

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.com. SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background of the #MeToo movement: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/10/the-movement-of-metoo/542979/

 

Fine

lonely

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, Proverbs 3:13

 I was reminded of this title from my mother. She said she would ask us “How are you doing?” and we would always answer “Fine.”  That, of course, didn’t fly, and she would press for more details.

“Fine” is not very informative. In fact, probably not very honest either. Oh, sure, there were days when I was actually doing fine, but there were many days that I wasn’t.  But my instinct was not to tell the truth.  Revealing my real feelings and emotions was not cool. So, “Fine” was all she got.

In his book, Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout, Dr. Rick Rigsby discusses how tied we are to appearance rather than reality.  “Our present culture encourages effortless living since all that matters is appearing successful.

He said this in the context of having lost his wife to cancer in her early 40’s. For a while, his life was all about going through the motions – what he referred to as “making an impression”.

No one questioned his motives, and so little was expected of him. He was doing impressionistic living. He was creating an impression that he was “fine” when in fact, he was dying a slow death inside.

He goes on: “Ours is a visual world with citizens who delight in those who appear good or gifted or great.” He continues: “We find it pleasantly acceptable for morality to be replaced by materialism, principle by popularity, or character by convenience.”

“Friends, possessions and surroundings have value inasmuch as they are significant metaphors used in the construction of an image that promises temporal rewards and immediate gratification.”  Ouch.  Basically, with good-looking friends, and the “right stuff” you can build the perception of excellence and success.

Dr. Rigsby finally realized that faith without works is dead. He had to go from making an impression to making an impact. It was radical, because he had to change from going through the motions to actually living above his circumstances.

Put in other words, he had to go from saying “I’m fine”, to learning to be honest about his emotional state and get up and do something.  He couldn’t remain a viewer of life, but a doer of life. This was a wisdom planted by his parents, a wisdom that is lacking in our present society.

I recently did a post on Burnout. In it, I noted that the statistics for the next generation in two areas (depression and suicide) are alarming.  While reading Dr. Rigsby’s book, I resonated with his experience.  I had experienced many red flags along the way to hitting the wall when I burned out, and I ignored all of them.

I was not honest with myself, nor with those around me. To the world, I appeared to be doing “fine”.  On the inside, I was an empty suit, going through the motions to keep up the impression that I could tough out my stressful life without anyone’s help. Until I couldn’t.

I won’t repeat my story (see my post on Burnout for the details), but I will say that my experience with burnout and depression was very real to the point of incapacity.

The culture of the next generation is ripe for depression, burnout, and sadly, suicide. While social media permits them to connect with “digital friends”, they are often really friendless with others and have nowhere to turn when times get tough.  No one stops them when they say “fine” and pushes the conversation to find out how are they really doing.

Which leads me back to Dr. Rigsby. By the way, there is a short video of a graduation speech by Dr. Rigsby that got me interested in getting his book. It is funny, poignant and inspirational, and I have added the link below. It is worth watching.

In his book, Dr. Rigsby talks about what helped him out of his despair from losing his wife. It was simple – it was the wisdom of his father. He then goes on to say: “The lack of wisdom in our present society poses a critical threat to the quality of our lives.”  Couldn’t have said it better myself.  What is lacking, he notes, is that the older generation’s wisdom is not being carried forward.

In more contemporary terms, the older generation is not paying it forward to the next generation. The older generation is a generation of “doers” and the next generation is a generation of “viewers”.  But you can only get so much from the digital world.

Learning from the wisdom of an earlier generation “may well be the societal glue that reconnects our society with the traits and values of an era that practiced common sense values as a lifestyle.”

The fact is that the next generation (millennials and Gen Z) are looking for mentors and not finding them.  It means that, at a base level, they are aware that they are missing wisdom from someone older.  That’s a siren call for mentors.

An interesting article in Psychology Today by Sean Grover discusses the negative thoughts in teenagers’ heads, and how they would want you to react.  One of Grover’s suggestions is that teenagers want someone to talk to.

 I need someone to look up to who isn’t you [their parents]. I need an adult to admire, someone I want to be like. A person who believes in me, pushes me, and understands me. A mentor, a counselor, a therapist…anyone who can give me hope when I have too little for myself.

My first challenge is to the mentor aged generation.  You are needed on the front lines to connect with a generation seeking people of character in their lives. You can make an impact on somebody’s life.  You can push them and give them hope when they don’t have it inside. But you can’t do it from a distance – you have to reach out and engage them. It’s that simple. They are waiting for your initiative.

My challenge to the next generation: seek out a mentor. Be bold and assertive. The older generation has wisdom to impart, but many don’t know that they need to pay it forward to the next generation. One of the excuses given by the mentor aged population for not mentoring is that no one had ever asked them to be a mentor. You can change that. Find someone who will press you to be honest as to how you are really doing. Nuff said.

MENTOR TAKEAWAY:  Be on the lookout for members of the next generation who are seeking a mentor and encourage others of your era to invest in their lives. When meeting with your mentee, dig below the surface to see how they are really doing and don’t take “fine” as a good answer. Be prepared to ask hard questions.

FURTHER STUDY:  Dr. Rigsby’s book, Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout (2006), is available at Amazon.

A video of Dr. Rigsby’s graduation speech can be found at: Rick Rigsby – Make An Impact – YouTube

The article in Psychology Today about teenagers facing depression: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/when-kids-call-the-shots/201801/the-negative-voices-in-your-teenager-s-head

WORSHIP:  Listen to Michael W. Smith sing “Open the Eyes of My Heart.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idQ1n3cdgfo

COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.com.   SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right corner of the site (www.mentorlink.wordpress.com)  and entering your email address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nones

churchempty

We will not hide them from their descendants, we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. Psalm 78:4

For close to two years, I have been writing posts on mentoring. It often involves studying trends and cultural changes of the millennials (Gen Y), and now Gen Z (those born after 1999). The purpose is to help the older generation understand what makes them different, which will aid in mentoring them.

For those of you who don’t know what or who “Nones” are, it is a term that comes from the U.S. Census form which is done every ten years. The “Nones” are those adults who don’t identify with any religion. On the census form, they check the box “None” instead of a box with a recognized religion such as Christian, Jewish, Moslem, etc.

According to Pew based on a 2016 study, it is one of the most striking trend in recent years. Most of those (78%) who say they are a “None” were raised as a member of a particular religion “before shedding their religious identity in adulthood”.

Now we have Gen Z (those born between 1999-2015), which is the first generation born in a “post-Christian” culture. “More than any generation before them, Gen Z does not assert a religious identity.”

As if we needed any more proof that the influence of Christianity in the U.S. is waning, As I noted in an earlier post entitled “Spirituality”, they are drawn to things that are spiritual, but have a vastly different beginning point.

Based on a recent Barna study, atheism has doubled in Gen Z compared to the general population (13% versus 6% in the general population). The word “Atheist” is no longer a dirty word.

Teens are having a hard time incorporating the existence of evil with a good and loving God. They also think Christians are hypocrites, and some say that science refutes too much of the bible

Gen Z differs from older adults who are critical of hypocritical Christians, but they are equally likely to have had a bad experience with the church or with a Christian.

Lastly, they follow in the footsteps of the Millennials who single-handedly turned public opinion in 10 years in favor of same-sex marriages. Gen Z is actually less inclined to cite political issues like LGBTQ rights poverty or immigration policy as a factor in the aversion to Christianity.

Why this change?  I think there are lots of reasons, not just the cultural shift into a post-Christian world. The breakdown of the nuclear family and single parent homes is a factor as described in the book “Coming Apart”, was written by a sociologist looking back over social trends of the last 50 years.

Our public-school education system also should have a spotlight put on it, particularly when you read scary trends as in the City of Edina, Minnesota, an upscale suburb of Minneapolis. In 2013, the public school system in Edina adopted an “All for All” plan which placed teaching about social justice above all other priorities.

For decades, the Edina schools were among the best for decades. Not surprising, basic learning skills in math and English have tumbled and students increasingly fear bullying and persecution. At the center is their obsession to highlight “white privilege”.

A course description of a high school course contained this statement: “By the end of the year, you will have . . . learned how to apply Marxist, feminist, post-colonial [and] psychoanalytical . . .lenses to literature.”

In the middle school, they have a blog that approves of Black Lives Matter and also has a picture of a protestor with a sign that says, “Gay Marriage is Our Right.”

Many public schools are not as overt, but I can’t help but think that the public-school system has lost its way in teaching respect, ethics and basic principles of freedom and equality, not to mention basic skills in English and math.

These trends are disturbing. How do we respond as Christians to the next generation that has started out with the spiritual deck stacked against them?  Parents, schools, and often individual Christians and churches have let them down.

The challenge here is that we, as parents and mentors, need to sharpen our skills in our ability to cogently describe why Christianity is important and relevant. The Christian world view is declining, and it is up to each and every one of us to step up our game.

We also need to look in the mirror and see what the world sees. Does our lifestyle rooted in Christianity look anything different from anybody else?  That’s a personal challenge to every Christian: we should be modeling Christ wherever we are.

Christ called us to go and make disciples of all nations.  He didn’t say sit back in your rocker wringing your hands at cultural changes.  Mentors are in a unique position of gaining trust of those in the next generation. The vast majority of young people want a mentor.

Even though millennials and Gen Z are skeptical of organized religion, a Christian mentor has no such baggage. Walking beside a member of the next generation is biblical. It’s how Jesus taught the disciples.

FURTHER STUDY:  The first two articles give more depth as to reasons for the rise of Nones and increase in Atheism.  Why America’s Nones left Religion Behindhttp://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/08/24/why-americas-nones-left-religion-behind/

The Doubling of Atheism in Generation Z: https://www.barna.com/research/atheism-doubles-among-generation-z/

The Edina Public School System’s lurch to become a Social Justice Factory:  http://www.weeklystandard.com/inside-a-public-school-social-justice-factory/article/2011402

WORSHIP: Listen to Hillsong sing “The Stand” which reminds us that our battle is not just with flesh and blood from Ephesians 6: The Stand – Hillsong – YouTube

 COMMENT:  I would be delighted at comments on this or any other post. You can comment by clicking on the icon at the top of the page, or emailing me at otterpater@nc.rr.com.  SUBSCRIBE:  You can receive an email notice of each post by clicking on the icon at the top right