Trying To Keep Our Kids Christians In College, Or Loosening Up The Harness For a Backslide

Unrelated note: My internet access was cut off for 5 days and I just now got back online, I will respond to blog comments soon, I apologize for the silence!.

Some day soon I’d like to do a “series” on raising children in the faith, and especially the tendency to downright indoctrinate children into being Christians. That’s strong language, but I do believe it’s fair.

Its a fascinating topic for me as I begin to contemplate how I want to raise my daughter and approach the God & spirituality subject. As I’ve mentioned, I’m considering involvement with a house church because I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking she goes to church like it’s a place, as I’d rather she think of church as being a body of believers out and among the world. I digress…

So as an unofficial and impromptu start to the series, we’ll work backwards…

Now that my friends and I have been out of college for a handful of years now (I’m coming up on four years, meaning the freshman of my senior year are now finishing up) I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends are not the hyper Christians they once were. Tsk tsk. They’ve loosened up a bit, not the warriors they were in their hayday, maybe even partaking in things they’d sworn off (casual drinks, swearing, etc).

Now I didn’t even go to a Christian college, and I didn’t even involve myself with the Christian ministry on campus (ex: Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship), yet I have still noted this trend.

I’d say only those just as hyper vigilant in their faith now as they were in college are the ones who entered seminary. Which could prove my very point.

In college, Christian or not, the believers were surrounded by religion: with Thursday chapel, Tuesday Bible studies, Sunday church, Wednesday worship circles, Saturday morning breakfast, and Friday night activities (Monday was actually spent on school work). And now, outside of college and that barrage of structure and support, they’ve eased up a bit on the religious front.

And maybe this is not so bad?

We could, and oh we will, spend days examining this.

But now that the freshly freed adults enter into the normal, every day world, they create/find their own niche and aren’t as devoted and strict as they once were. And maybe they’re actually participating in a faith that is a little more sustainable, and real, even it’s not as spotless and overt as before.

We’ll have a look at this more, later, at how the structure may be useful for a “season,” especially the pivotal and volatile college years, but for now I’m wondering if we can keep them so boxed in that they actually NEED to be free? And I’m wondering what the real gain ends up being from that experience.

Well, do we overdo it with college students? What message do we send, even accidentally, through this kind of structure? What long term benefits can it give?

This entry was posted in Deconstructing Big Fancy Religious Systems, Wayward North American Church. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Trying To Keep Our Kids Christians In College, Or Loosening Up The Harness For a Backslide

  1. David says:

    The problem is dead religion, not the structure.

    -1 The Jews NEVER would have sent their kids to Greek or Roman schools. Never! That is one reason why they were “chosen” to keep the letter of the law. Of course loving and blessing your spouse and family was traditional.

    -2 In the US it seems training up a child in the way they should go is pretty much a lost art. Most folks shove them out the door at 18 and expect them to make good decisions and act like adults. Their brains aren’t even fully developed until about 21. But worse, the Bible says that we are to parent them until they “cleave to their spouse”.

    -3 I suppose a little swearing and a little drinking appears normal in your circle college friends. Is a little fornication with someone you love is also permissible? At what point is the Bible too conservative? I realize this question is a direct challenge, but it needs to be answered. Is sin, sin, or is it not?

    -4 The real problem is in the difference between a disciple and a convert. If we just convert folks and leave them to their own devices, it is a lose-lose situation. When we disciple those in our midst, including our children, we will see results – those that desire a pure life because they love Jesus, not because they go to a conservative churches, schools or colleges.

    -5 Worst of all, why does the church want to get folks saved that they [church] have no desire to truly help them live like Christ through the Holy Spirit? Instead they heap dead religion on top of folks that already are burdened. If one cannot hear God, and is not trained to hear God, how could they every do what the Father is doing? I say it’s pretty much impossible.

    Good post – hope I wasn’t to tough on you. 🙂

  2. haha no – I like that you aren’t afraid to outright disagree! And have you noticed a theme of me dealing with “dead religion” being heaped on people in large quantities? Its like every post!

    To answer your direct question – I didn’t want to get too specific on how they aren’t as hyper religious as they were before, but sex before marriage wasn’t on that list. I just mean they aren’t abiding by that strict conservative law like they were in college.

    I definitely think there is a difference, and you do too (I think), that there is a difference between disciplining and what goes on in tight Christian circles… That’s what I’m pointing out. I’m ALL for community and disciplining, but indoctrination ain’t my thang.

  3. Pingback: The Tired Old Pendulum, Or Asking For a Push | Charlie's Church of Christ

  4. Angela says:

    Ah, I must have missed this one the first time around. I think the times I spent with Intervarsity (Sunday evening – leadership team meeting, Monday afternoon – exec board meeting, Tuesday evening – Bible study, Thursday evening – large group), though completely and utterly exhausting strengthened me spiritually in amazing ways.

    I will admit, coming back to the “real world” was a bit rough. Luckily IV did a seniors retreat where they talked about what it’s like and how to do it well. It was very helpful, but we still couldn’t be ready to go from college ministry to America’s churches. I’d say spiritually, I’m still in transition, but that’s better than complacency.

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