The Ganfield Library Cafe is not exactly spacious, with a max occupancy of maybe 30 or 35 (behind the windows, right).
Last Friday morning our discussion group, configured in a tight oval around two small wooden tables, occupied 13 of those spots.
The topic at hand: Was Christina’s friend who had converted from Christianity to Islam still in possession of her salvation? The friend had once been a “true” Christian, supposedly. Now, a confessor of the shahada.
12 Carroll University students looked to me to settle the matter.
My job at that moment was to provide the answer, of course. Probably start by saying “The Bible clearly teaches. . . “
Or, I could draw them deeper into the issue by asking them to consider the pros and cons of various solutions.
It seems to me that one of the reasons young people are leaving the church in record numbers is that we tell them a lot of answers. We rob them of the joy of discovery.
Meanwhile, at school and in other spiritualities (or in atheism), they get to talk freely about their doubts, concerns, opinions. Often a new and exciting conversation for young (former) evangelicals.
Back to the coffee shop at Carroll: Eventually, after a lot more dialog, I did give my view of the matter, though not as the answer.
How’s the Conversation going at your church/ministry/home?
p.s. The November 2010 issue of Christianity Today has an insightful article about young people leaving the church, entitled The Leavers: Young Doubters Exit the Church. It’s also posted on line, though you may need a subscription: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/november/27.40.html?start=1