June 23, 2009 // 02:30 pm // Comments Closed // Share This

Helping Students ‘Get It’

In last month's article, I argued that a major project for those of us who work with students is to help them "get" Christianity. While a significant number of Christian students reject Christianity during their university years, far more struggle to embrace a faith that is not really authentic or orthodox. Theirs is a "moralistic therapeutic Deism" as Christian Smith put it; a tame faith that is privatized and perhaps personally meaningful but which is not publically true, culturally significant, or fundamentally informative to the rest of their lives. Rather than trying to make Christianity as attractive and entertaining as possible, we ought instead to be sure that what we are communicating to them is actually Christianity. As I noted, this is very challenging in a culture of information overload, where students are bombarded daily with a multitude of messages, most of which, encourage them toward a mentality of adolescence. Still, there is good news. Adolescently minded cultures like ours inevitably have a leadership vacuum. So, there remains a terrific opportunity for influence for those who produce the leaders, especially if they produce networks of leaders who can think deeply and contribute broadly to a wide variety of cultural institutions. How can we do this?