EM04 Crunchy Questions

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*Note: sorry for the delayed report and reflection*

In the last Emergent Malaysia “Open” Meeting we decided to use the issue of “2nd Generation Christians” as a starting point for discussion. This matter was raised in one of our threads in the Yahoogroup.

So, I pulled out some ideas from this paragraph I found to describe an upcoming plenary session on “Building 2nd Generation Christian Youths” from an upcoming Youth consultation that I’ll go as a participant. It says,

“The first generation of Christian youth of the yesteryears has become parents with teenage children today. This is an emerging generation that has passed through our Sunday Schools into our Youth Fellowships. But, are we passing the baton of Christian faith to them effectively? And, is the emerging generation of young people taking up this baton of faith personally? Is this the responsibility of the family or the church?”

one thing I noticed during the meeting, even though talking about “2nd Generation” Christians was the starting point … many questions, issues and/or even reframing how we ask the questions arose – and they arose around the lens of “Church” (so not just about the youth specifically), the nature of “Mission” (it’s not just about fancy methods), even Theology (passing down the faith or recontextualizing the faith), etc.

I thought I’ll just try to capture some of the concerns I heard in the form of “Questions” in random and no particular order

– How are we “bringing up” these kids to develop some indepence in thinking (e.g. critical thinking)? or are we expecting them to swallow everything from the past generation? should we at all expect that?

– have the parents “consciously” examined their own faith journey and how they work out their own faith? (this is not so much of a complaint but a genuine question) Are there aspects of the “parents’ faith” that maybe more tied in to a certian (for example Chinese) cultures more than Christian concerns/values?

– how about the whole idea of “keeping face” in Malaysia where one is prone to “pretend” to be ok or perfect in order to fit in and lack the space to “be real” and allow heartfelt struggles to surface or even doubts?

– What is the relationship between friendship, leadership and personal authenticity in the relationship between those who are older as well as younger?

– Is there a place for “We don’t have all the answers to all the questions”? is that ok? Is yes or no, then how?

– How can we facilitate a genuine listening to the question “Where is God in this situation”? or “What is God doing in this generation”?

– what is one’s relationship to the world we live in? how do we wrestle with a “anti-world” mentality and what about “certian forms of Christian subcultures” already in our midst?

– What does it mean for those who come from Christian families to take ownership of their faith? How can we facilitate that? Is it not so much about passing on the form but actually passing on the hunger?

– how do parents and others in the church support each other in the upbringing of youth? How do we avoid a “police-state” mentality and yet not slip into “anarchy”?

– how about social justice? Is this faith just spiritual and has no relation with social realities that are before our eyes? Where is the church in all this? how do our words and deeds match?

– What kind of “baton” are we passing on?

– what about bringing people to the church verses bringing the church to the people? How does this affect those who grow up in Christian environments?

– How to we wrestle with the more organic dimensions of community life as well as organizational aspects? are we too program-driven that we miss internal community and external society needs?

– what are we doing about the increasingly “consumeristic” attitude not only in the world but also very “alive” in the church (adults included!)?

– what about temptation of the “success” mentality driving many churches that cause us to slip into a quick fix strategy? and thus, we look to “successful churches” adopt similar programs and expect to boost success? what does this communicate to the next generation or this generation of youth?

– What is the “gospel” this generation is hearing? What about the Kingdom of God? what about the understanding of mission for today?

– What are the models available for 2nd generation Christians? whether individual examples of how one grows into faith? how about models of “Christianity” or churches that are unseen or not popular but seriously engaging in nurturing faith in the long run?

Some questions to crunch for now … we’ll see whether we can chew on some meat later in another post … please feel free to comment and put your thoughts down .. especially if you are a 2nd or 3rd or more … generation Christian.

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