If we consider human psychological development to also describe spiritual development – some have written on this already – the movement described in Matthew Lee Anderson’s article and Scot McKnight’s blog is the loud, wrangling voice of adolescence busy differentiating from the safe world of their parent’s church. There is a bright flashy need for something new, flashy, interesting, demanding and challenging … a common symptom of teen angst.
Spiritual teens want to forsake the comfy world of their childhood and live out of backpacks on the mission field doing heroic things. They are not reacting against their parents as much as they are reacting because they have outgrown the safe play pen of their own past in the typical traditional church.
In “Here Come the Radicals!” Matthew Lee Anderson raises the question: David Platt, Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, and now Kyle Idleman are dominating the Christian best-seller lists by attacking our comfortable Christianity. But is ‘radical faith’ enough? To me, the success of these authors and the sales of their books are not an indictment of the traditional church as much as they indicate the large numbers of people who have outgrown the play pen and are looking for something new. But teens do not find that “something new” in their family of origin and never have. They find it outside the “family” in a peer group which shares their passions and prejudices – and it has always been so. This reality is responsible for the shift of so many bodies into the megachurches, which are designed to meet teen needs … and they are likely to shift onward when they outgrow teen needs as well.
People must go through the teen stage to reach the parent stage, where they settle down to nurture baby christians and change spiritual diapers. The dramatic and chaotic world of spiritual teenagers makes them poor parents.
So to me the question provoked by the new radicals would be for each of us to ask ourselves: is my spirituality pre-teen or post-teen? Have I been on my walkabout yet – my teenage adventure – or is it still in my future?
SOURCES: (Right Click, select “Open In New Tab” to view links.)
Here Come the Radicals! – – – Christianity Today Article by Matthew Lee Anderson
David Platt, Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, and now Kyle Idleman are dominating the Christian best-seller lists by attacking our comfortable Christianity. But is ‘radical faith’ enough? http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/march/here-come-radicals.html
Suburbia is for Christians, too – – – Jesus Creed Blog: May 27, 2013 @ 10:06 By Scot McKnight http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/05/27/suburbia-is-for-christians-too/