Teenagers say family, friends, money, music and even reality television are more important than religion according to a recent survey of a 1,000 13-18 year-olds by Penguin books undertaken to mark the publication of Kevin Brooks’ novel Killing God. What have we done when six out of ten 10 children (59 per cent) believe that religion “has a negative influence on the world”?
The survey also shows that half of teenagers have never prayed and 16 per cent have never been to church. The controversial new book is about a 15-year-old girl who questions the existence of God. Kevin Brooks, the author, said: “I can’t say I am surprised by the teenagers’ responses. “Part of the reason that I wrote Killing God was that I wanted to explore the personal attitudes of young people today, especially those with troubled lives, towards organised religion and the traditional concept of God. “How can the moralities of an ancient religion relate to the tragedies and disorders of today’s broken world? And why do some people turn to God for help while others take comfort in drugs and alcohol? “These are just some of the questions I wanted to consider… And I wasn’t looking for answers.” The research also found 55 per cent of young people are not bothered about religion and 60 per cent only go to church for a wedding or christening. Only three out of 10 teenagers believe in an afterlife and 41 per cent believe that nothing happens to your body when you die, but one in 10 reckon they come back as an animal or another human being.
A the Church of England is looking to cut its budget for youth mission work a spokesman said: “Many teenagers aren’t sure what they believe at that stage of their lives, as is clear from the number who said they don’t know whether they believe in God. “On the other hand many of these results point to the great spirituality of young people today that the Church is seeking to respond to through new forms of worship alongside tradition ones.”
Today a new site Make Jesus Famous is launched- http://www.makejesusfamous.org.uk/. Let’s help it generate the ideas, commitment and inspiration to reach out to to those who really don’t know or care about Christ. Let’s give them a message of hope, new life, love and transformation. Let’s be the miracle to them.
For the full article on this story see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/5603096/Two-thirds-of-teenagers-dont-believe-in-God.html
In the opening chapter of Acts the resurrected Jesus tells his followers not to leave Jerusalem but to wait there for the promises of the father- The Holy Spirit. The disciples are excited at the prospect of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel- they still don’t get it! Only a few verses later Christ tells them to be his witnesses on Jerusalem, all Judea, and Samaria and the ends of the earth and then he disappears! As my friend George Lings would say, the message may have reached the ends of the earth but the church has set up a number of mini-Jerusalems. How many Christians effectively reach out beyond church walls other than through blitz events like Hope and Soul in the City and specific ministries like Street Pastors?
Some would say that the church is obsessed with Jerusalem and making it look better, bigger, slicker and brighter- when the real need is to set up camp in Samaria or even venture to the ends of the earth. As a church we tend to focus on people who are like us- Churched- those comfortable to be our people. What about the de-churched on the fringes of Samaria who are at least 3 times bigger than we are and many of whom don’t like who we are? What about the non-churched where we could come into contact we a group amongst the under 45s who are 6 times greater than that age profile in our churches? There is some excellent news and stories around the Back to Church Sunday initiative for which we should praise God, but we can’t ignore the facts that around 40% of the populations have had some experience of church yet have not returned- was it really their fault. My friend George suggests that the complex DNA have the church has dominant Anglican genes called worship and pastoral care and that evangelism and mission genes are recessive. For a national church, the Church of England, the number of people who appear to be deeply alienated from us is disturbing. It’s time to leave Jerusalem.
Not so much a blog entry but some facts and figures for you to reflect on and pray about in terms of the impact on our society:
2008 FIFA Football manager was cited in 35 divorce cases in the Uk; Last year on average we watched 15,330 TV ads; 60% of the world’s population own a mobile phone; 79% of kids in the Uk have a TV in their own room; 175 million people have their own Facebook profile; 13 hours of new video is uploaded to You Tube each minute; on average we watch over 26 hours of TV a week; 70% of over 65s have never been online; 7.4 million games console were sold in the UK last year.
and……Sunday morning is the most popular time to view internet pornography- and I thought people were shopping!
Bishop or bar owner, plumber or police officer, Catholic or Protestant- Christian Research want to hear from you. If you have a Christian faith, you are invited to take part in a major new project- The Faith Journeys Project- which aims to collect stories of how people came to faith. Christian Research is leading the project which is sponsored by an ecumenical grouping of faith-based groups. The stated aims of the project are:
- To encourage people to talk about their faith journeys to stimulate discussion and response.
- To help Christian organisations develop more effective strategies for evangelism and discipleship.
If you’re ready to tell your own unique faith story then register at http://www.faith-journeys.com/
I’m saving mine for a best-selling tell-all memoir to be serialised in the tabloid press. Watch this space!
Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph reported that male worshippers like to sing “proper macho songs” in church and feel uncomfortable with hugging, holding hands or sitting in circles discussing their feelings, according to a survey on behalf of Sorted magazine. 72% of the 400 UK readers of Sorted who responded to the survey, preferred the sermon as their favourite part of the service: no surprise there it’s usually about telling people what to do or how to think.
I realise that that research suggests that when men come to faith they tend to have a stronger influence than women on other family members joining them, but I am not sure what churches are expected to do about the findings of this survey. I know Jesus knocked around with 12 blokes but he was also very counter-cultural in terms of his relationships with women, and for me, Christians more than almost any other groups should be trying to encourage mean to be a little more vulnerable and demonstrative in their relationships with fellow believers without putting at risk their masculinity.
I know plenty of men who love the worship songs of Rita Springer which leads us into a more intimate and dare I say less macho relationship with God and each other so I thought I share a video of one of Rita’s best known songs with you her. Fellas, if the actions put you off just think of Jackie Chan and thumb through your Bloke’s Bible.
Click here for the full article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/5278040/Male-worshippers-like-to-sing-macho-songs-in-church.html