A recent Pew poll showing a sharp decline in Christians has left atheists crowing about the demise of religion and denominational leaders worrying about the future of Christianity. What these poll numbers really reveal is a national yearning for the more social justice and compassion-centered Christianity espoused in progressive Christian communities. Progressive Christians need to reclaim and invest in our voice: the world is hungry for our message.
Millennials, to use an old Indigo Girls song title, are Nomads, Indians, and Saints. They may not be serious about institutional commitment, but they are serious about real faith, sometimes more serious than their elders. As Nomads, they do not feel obligated to stick with the institutions adored by a previous generation; as Indians, they seek ancient spiritual practices like centering prayer that take them deeper and emphasize the mystical; and as Saints, they seek communities that model saint-like commitment to the social justice teachings of Christianity. Many are actively looking for a community in which to practice these values; they simply don’t know where to find one.