This post is true and necessary and cathartic (if tragic) on so many levels, I really don’t know what to say.
But I do want to point out what I thought was her most ominous observation:
In recent conversations with a couple of my girlfriends, I expressed an extreme disinterest in Christian guys of my generation.
“I’ve pretty much had it with Christian guys,” I said. “The main problem is that they are ‘guys’ for too long and never become men.”
They are, I theorized, stuck in the youth group culture. The church has encouraged them to never leave that mentality, and so it takes until about age 35 for them to extract themselves into adulthood-land where the women have been waiting for years and have been steadily growing fed up. Men not raised in this evangelical youth culture, I’ve noticed, tend to be vastly different in maturity level.
Youth group culture is a place of video games and pizza parties and perpetual “here we are now entertain us” (thanks for the lyrics, Cobain). When youth leave the appropriate age level (i.e. graduate from high school), they face a difficult moment, a moment made difficult because of age segregation, which I’ll talk about next.
Instead of helping them get on into adulthood, we’ve introduced single’s groups — in the name of helping the unmarried, of course — which are mainly youth groups for those in their 20′s. Which, instead of helping people not be single actually encourages them to never grow up and, instead, use the group as their relationship fix. I see this particularly with Christian guys, this stunted maturity, and it somehow seems to permeate Evangelical culture today.
As someone who has lived and done church in South Florida, Julie, I can tell you it is not always only the men who are so affected. But women tend to be much more aware of the passing of time and opportunities in their twenties, while men go blithely forward into bad habits that make marriage less and less likely. So the point is well taken.
I wonder when we are going to start noticing the brain drain in the Evangelical churches. “Maturity” is either not even on the horizon, or is used to justify stupid doctrinal geekiness which is anything but mature, or doctrinal. between those two traps, who will be left?