Thursday, January 11, 2007

religious experience and socialization

Thoughts and questions on Part II: How Churches Hold Teens from Choosing Church by Carol Lytch.
  1. In these chapters Carol Lytch is pointing out that churches that successfully retain or hold their youth are churches that simultaneously socialize the youth into the tradition and create religious experiences for the youth. These religious experiences generally occur when the traditional symbol or ritual is disrupted, reframed n a new yet meaningful way, and then interpreted through one's tradition. Do you agree with this concept?
  2. How does your ministry foster religious experience? How does your ministry socialize youth into your tradition so they are able to interpret their religious experiences in meaningful ways?
  3. Lytch (and many others) recognizes the lack of meaningful rites of passage for our youth. She is especially concerned with rites of passage for high school seniors. The rites of passage the church does offer do not usually coincide with high school graduation. My issue with rites of passage is that they generally reinforce American individualism over-against relationships and community. What might be some meaningful rites of passage for our high school seniors that would focus more on community and responsibility and less on autonomy and individualism?
  4. ". . . churches foster in teens religious loyalty . . . when they both socialize their teens in the symbols, stories, rituals, and practices of their tradition and foster the conditions through which teens feel they encounter God. When congregations do both, teens tend to profess strong allegiance to their faith tradition" (pg. 84). But don't we, as Lutherans, claim to experience God in the symbols, stories, rituals and practices of our tradition? Aren't proclaiming the Word, baptism, and Holy Communion all ways in which we foster the conditions through which teens can encounter God? Are there other, more meaningful ways and places in which our teens experience God?
God's Peace.
Jeremy Myers

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