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More Nones

A report on NPR yesterday indicated that the number of "nones" is on the rise.

A report on NPR yesterday indicated that the number of "nones" is on the rise.

"Nones" are those young people, under 30 or so, who profess to having no religious affiliation at all. For years surveys reported the number of "nones" to be around 5-7% of the population. Now it's reaching upwards to 35%, and continuing to climb.

Young people are abandoning the faith - or just staying away from it altogether. Now this is curious. For the past 20 years at least churches have been doing everything they can imagine to attract the young and hip. We've gone casual. Scrapped old hymns and liturgies. Turned our sanctuaries into theaters, complete with drama and pop bands. We've toned down the emphasis on sin, started singles' clubs and sports leagues, and loosened "membership" requirements (to accommodate young people's fear of commitment).

And the result is that the very people we've gone to such extraordinary lengths to reach are simply walking away. Hmmm. Are they looking for something else? Something, perhaps, more serious? More demanding? Entailing more mystery? More of a sense of transcendence? Of mission?

Evidently the Church's "come/see" approach to the rising generation is not working. Will this lead us to reconsider the changes we've made? To repent of our having abandoned the work of evangelism, and our casual view of discipleship and church membership? To turn in repentance and seek the Lord for revival?

Or will we just redouble our efforts in perpetuating the status quo?

T. M. Moore

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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