The release of “The Faith of Generation Y” is a welcome addition to the bookshelf.
The bad news, which is not altogether news, is that Generation Y people (born after 1982 for this book) are the ‘memoryless’ generation in terms of the Christian faith. There are faint strands of understanding or acceptance which may create a barrier when seeking a sense of identity or communal belonging within the Christian tradition and this has an impact within the field of Christian youth work.
The first section of the book deals with a sociological viewpoint and works builds on Grace Davie’s concept of ‘vicarious religion’ and the ‘chain of memory’ from Hervieu-Leger. It is interesting to reference this with how young people live and the impact that religious beliefs have in their decision making. The research suggests that Christian youth work keeps alive the plausibility of faith for the unchurched but does not develop a deepening or understanding of the Christian faith. However, for the churched young person, Christian youth work provides a vital role in both the exploration of faith and Christian identity. One of the best lines in this section (for me!) was, “Young people do not want to be told what to do, but they want to know how to think and make right choices for themselves. Maybe ethics is the new spirituality.”
The encouraging signs from the research confirms what many youthworkers already believe, that young people have a ‘conventional and sensible attitude to life’, a far cry from what the media currently portrays.
Those are my musings on part one – musings on the part 2 of the book to follow soon….