Having started the conversation with so many adults and students about the scary state of this young generation, I was not surprised when I received this unsolicited correspondence from a mother (used with permission):

My daughter bought her dad a Fathers Day concert ticket...how eye opening about the condition of our young people...we sat behind a group of girls that smoked, drank and projectile vomited only to continue to drink, smoke, etc. Behind us were those smoking weed. It was difficult to find one young person in the crowd that was not drinking. 

I have 5 kids of my own; 3 are grown. I knew the condition was bad, but last night was far worse than I ever imagined. It has inspired me to pray, pray, and pray.....

She said much more, including what apparel (or lack of) the girls in attendance were wearing, but you get the gist.

This mom’s words reminded me of two very important points:

First, I’m not day-dreaming or exaggerating about our “sex-crazed, binge-drinking culture.” The young men and women in our culture, even and especially those who have been raised in Christian homes, are torn between their culture and their faith. The culture mocks and ignores morality, purity and even faith as “uncool” or outdated while their parents, church, and the Bible ask them to uphold these very “unpopular-in-our-culture” tenets. 

Second, caring about and for this young generation takes time and conviction from everyone — not just parents.  I am convinced that those of us who call ourselves Christians — followers of Jesus Christ — have a responsibility and obligation to be role models of both moral and spiritual purity. We need to look, act, and choose different than the culture in which we live.

In my quest to reach this young generation with such culturally unpopular messages like sex outside of marriage and binge or underage drinking lead to incredible compromise, immorality, guilt and shame, I’ve encountered many adults who seem strangely naïve or oddly resistant to dealing with issues of sexuality and substance abuse. Why do so many adults act as if the decisions the young men and women in America are facing are not our problem? I think there are plenty of reasons:

  • We’re too busy. 
  • We’re too tired. 
  • We’re not willing to get out of our comfort zones.
  • We’re afraid. 
  • We don’t feel qualified to address such controversial issues. 
  • Or…we’re living with our own level of compromise. 

Let’s face it – it has become very difficult to live God-honoring lives in a culture that is sexually immoral and so easily leans on substances to comfort us, that idealizes athletes and actors who have little regard for biblical principles and where divorce is common to almost 50% of the population. As simple as it sounds, perhaps Oswald Chambers’ words can shock us back into taking back some ground we as a Christian community may have lost.  He wrote, “a disciple realizes that it is His Lord’s honor that is at stake in his life, not his own.” 

No matter your age — young or old — perhaps calling oneself a Christian should have a peculiarity, a difference, a higher standard attached to it?  Perhaps living sexually pure, sober or what used to be called ”holy” lives is not so much about the culture but about individuals who represent the living, loving God? What if the reason our young generation doesn’t espouse to higher standards is because few Christian parents and leaders have the courage or conviction to live those “less popular, less fun” lives in front of them?