“We will never grow up” Sometimes I think that this is the theme song for my generation. Playing the day away–putting off being settled, trying to find a foothold on which to grasp. Here we are living at home, putting off marriage and renting. .
“Today, some 29 percent of 25- to 34-year olds either never moved out of their parents’ home or say they returned home in recent years because of the economy, according to the Pew report. Among 18- to 24-year olds, that figure is even higher – 53 percent of young adults in that age group live at home”. That’s right half of the youngest adults have to live at home.
Personally, I know this to be true. My siblings and I have all been supported by my parents since college. Every person I know has had to live off/with their parents Luckily my family had my grandmother’s house so I was one of the few of my friends who didn’t have to move back in with the family after grad school–that’s right grad school with two kids and two cats in tow.
The Young Adult age keeps getting longer and longer. Young Adults are those who have the responsibilities of an adult but don’t yet feel settled (thanks Kenda Dean for that definition). Young Adults used to be the generation that belongs in the YA section of the library–you know those between the ages of 15 and 18 or maybe even 20. Today “young” adults are all those under age 35.
Because of the economy, us Boomerangs, or Millenials have put off marriage, housing and Children. “Nearly half say that in recent years they’ve taken a job they didn’t really want, to pay the bills. More than a third have gone back to school because of the poor economy. About a third have postponed either their plans to get married or have a child, and one in four say they have moved back in with their parents after living independently. And fewer than half of young people who are now employed say they have the education and training necessary to get ahead in their jobs”.
Maybe it isn’t “We won’t grow up” but we can’t grow up. Personnally I know that we will not be owning a house for a long time, the used bookstore we want to open has to wait, and we are lucky that we were able to have kids so soon.
So what does religion have to do with us? Can religion help those struggling with debt and self-worth as is described in http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/09/local/la-me-young-recession-20120209
Here a summary of the current situation. Most people consider themselves “Spiritual” but “not religious” “Katie Douglass a Phd student at Princeton, researched young adults “While they typical attendance/praying/Bible study questions continue to be dismal when it comes to young adult responses – when asked Have you become more or less religious in the last year? – and Are you interested in growing in your faith? -produces emphatic yeses.”
for the hr long interview about young spirituality see http://churchnext.tv/2012/09/12/katherine-douglass-young-adults-are-more-spiritually-aware-than-you-think/
So young people are looking for meaning, they are looking for purpose, but the connection has not been happening. Apparently most young people find anything relevant to them in the sermon. There is nothing. According to research done by Stephen Cady, young people do not find anything spiritual or connectional about a sermon (http://churchnext.tv/2012/08/20/stephen-cady-why-100-of-young-people-dread-the-sermon/)
If young people who are in high school find little meaning in worship, I expect the same is true of this generation of boomerang/millenial/Peter Pans. Plus, if we are feeling rootless and unfulfilled a rooted congregation might feel overwhelming, or apathetic about a generation that can’t be around for the long haul, can’t attend church every Sunday, and can’t commit the way other generations might have.
Here is a generation that was told “work hard and go to school and you will succeed” and here we are: Not Succeeding. Understanding that this must be somehow our fault. How might faith and Christ address this? How might the love of God and the purpose of our lives to build relationships and communities based on that love give purpose to these people’s lives. If Jesus met a college student, what would he have to say to them????
Would he had said “Peter Pan why won’t you grow up and get your butt to church, so that you can understand God (the way we do)”
or Would he have met him where he was “Peter Pan, Can I play with you?”
PS remember the Harry Potter/Fantasy generation is graduating next, what is their fascination with fantasy about? how does that fit into spirituality? How does that work in this economy? *”For young adults, bad times don’t trump optimism. Among those ages 18 to 34, nearly nine-in-ten (88%) say they either have or earn enough money now or expect they will in the future” see for full survey http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/02/09/young-underemployed-and-optimistic/
(Just some light philosophical questions 🙂