Developing Millennial Christianity Pt.2

Millennials have developed a worldview based around pluralism/relativism. The beliefs of pluralism/relativism are engrained in us because we grew up in the postmodern era (for more information, check out Jean-Francois Lyotard‘s The Postmodern Condition). Pluralism/relativism stemmed from an honest look at the human condition and sociological structures resulting from the Enlightenment and the Holocaust. Pluralism/relativism is a reaction to abusive power and absolutist thinking. And, while this worldview has left us with a healthier understanding of structure of leadership and naïve thinking, it has also left us in despair (the millennials are the most depressed generation). It also leaves us deeply disappointed with the previous generations, and in existential angst. Much of our history, our worldviews are disconnected. It also doesn’t lend itself to wise living and thinking.

If the millennial church wants a healthy religious and spiritual structure, it will learn to move beyond this “what’s right for you is right for you, and what’s right for me is what’s right for me” mindset. Rather than dismissing other traditions, other human beings, the healthy millennial Christian will have to learn how to integrate. They must learn how to listen to others and discern the Truth in their perspectives. They must learn that every part of the journey was necessary. Just as pluralism/relativism was necessary to get us over our unhealthy certainty, integration will help us move into healthy confidence in what we believe, while maintaining the respect of pluralism/relativism. Pluralism/relativism allowed us to break free from indoctrination, and integration will move us into wisdom and faith.

More than anything, our ability to discern and integrate will liberate us from the previous periods of our lives. It will allow us to forgive the parts of ourselves that we wish never existed. It allows us to accept and love the people that we see hurting people in the name of God (just as God loves them and accepts them as they are). And, by integrating our own journey, and the wisdom of the traditions around us, we will be able to help others move through their lives much more easily. We will establish healthy leadership structures that didn’t exist before pluralism/relativism, because the leaders will be whole people who can discern whom and what other people need. They won’t be interested in serving their own egocentric causes, they won’t be dualistic in their tribal and ethnocentric causes; rather their love will be for all people. These people will love their enemies; they exist for those experiencing injustice. They will be for all people, not just those who look, act, and talk like them.

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2 thoughts on “Developing Millennial Christianity Pt.2

  1. Mike, I cannot thank you enough for your writing. It feels like you are explaining exactly what I am going through and giving a hopeful picture of the future for those of us who claim Christ as Savior. I have been feeling so discouraged and unable to make sense of where my faith journey is taking me. I am so grateful for your wisdom, clarity and insight on these issues. Besides what you have recommended above, is there anything else I should be reading to provide further clarification? Also I am happy that you provided hope in the last paragraph for what attitudes might be changing especially with church leadership. I have been so turned off by “churchism” (I don’t know what else to call it) because I was doused in it for so long that I have such a strong reaction against it I have almost fled. I still have one foot in the door. Thank you for your writing…it is like a beacon of light when I couldn’t see anymore.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      Stephanie,
      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate the encouragement.

      Karl Rahner once said, “In the days ahead, you will either be a mystic (one who has experienced God for real) or nothing at all.”

      While I don’t appreciate the gooey, definition that is often ascribed to mystics, I would consider myself a mystic, who is also academically driven. And, I think that this has given me some of the clarity I have. I seek clarity on two levels:

      1. If Truth is indeed Truth, then how does this set me free.(spirituality)
      2. If Truth is indeed Truth, then how does this set the world free. (religion)

      From a more spiritual level, I’d highly recommend:
      1.Parker Palmer’s, “Let Your Life Speak”
      2.Richard Rohr’s “Everything Belongs”.

      These two books are simple and have allowed me to receive that spiritual reality that is within me. It has allowed me to find the freedom that is breathed in by Truth.

      Some theological books that have shaped me are:
      1. Surprised by Hope by N.T Wright
      2. The Source of Life by Jurgen Moltmann

      These two books have helped me understand God’s work in the world and how it is being done.

      Hope this helps!

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