Abductive Columns

Sunday, August 07, 2005


When my girls were pre-teens I can remember driving pass church building after church building on our way to church. As we passed each church building the girls would ask, “Daddy, are they going to heaven?”

That they would even ask such a question is sad but the answer I gave is even sadder.

“No, girls, I’m afraid they won’t be in heaven.”

“Why dad?”

“Because they are not following the bible.”

(What I should have said is, “Because they are not following the bible like we think they should.”)

Yesterday my wife and I went to Columbus to visit my daughter and watch her boyfriend play rugby (he was an All-American at Ohio State). After the game we all went to my brother’s house to spend time with him and his wife. They have two boys: a fifteen year old and a thirteen year old.

At different points in our conversations I heard from all of them, with the exception of the thirteen year old. I don’t recall their exact words but here’s the gist:

When I was a teen I had to attend one-of-those hard Christian camps.”

“I had to go to those also.”

“Christians judge me because of my appearance

I’m not sure it would be fair to say their comments are representative of their generation. But I think it’s fair to say many 20 year olds have this impression.

How did they get these opinions? Here’s my take…

When I was raising my children I was under the spell of legalism (as were many in Christendom). It was after my children grew up that I discovered grace. Because my generation (boomers) majored in the minors and spent more time proving their positions than trying to understand and exemplify the Person of Jesus Christ we now have a large segment of generation-Xers who are sorely mistaken about what it means to be a Christ-follower. But the saddest part is many of them will no longer give Christianity a fair-hearing.


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At 7:00 PM, Anonymous naw said...

This weekend I was out of state attending a wedding. My parents were there also and took me out to dinner. Both my father and I are ministers in the Churches of Christ (really, he's the reason I'm both a Christian and a minister). But my parents still echo the old school party line. At dinner and friendly man overheard that we were ministers and introduced himself as a minister at a Christian church from back in our home state. We told him we were with the CoC, and he said, "The non-instrumental folks? Well, we have a piano, but we're all brothers in Christ, right?" My parents only stared at him blankly. I replied weakly, "Yes"...but it was hard to speak loudly through the tears.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger RobWill said...


This is a great post, very true and very sad at times to see what we were raised with. I often look at this generational rift in the light of "Wild at Heart". You know that book, and the premise of how the father affects the son. I believe that those of us with legalism as our "father" have done the same. We have acted in either two ways. We become even greater legalists to win favor with the "father" or we live apathetically, full of emptiness and despair because we know we can never live like that.

I am just blessed that my kids were not in our former church long enough to know what legalism is like. It may be possible that they will never be tainted with it, that they can grow up in such a way to be the true Christians that God desires. I pray that this can be reality in the future generations. That things like arguing over instruments and the like will be foreign to them.

At 7:48 PM, Blogger FreeThinker said...

Judging seems like a reasonable thing to do. Some Christians feel they should not judge. (There's a dialogue on this topic over at my blog)


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