Thoughts from last night’s USC forum

Had a fun night last night at University of Southern California, leading a discussion on spirituality, Christianity, and why so many people leave church when they turn 18. Here are some of my thoughts.

1. Very diverse crowd! I didn’t know if most of those in attendance would be evangelical Christians, but as it turned out, most of those who came were not. In the audience was a wide variety of faiths, races, and perspectives. This of course made the discussion much more interesting. My talk was 45 minutes presentation, and ended up doing about 1 hours of taking questions.

2. I approached the night curious about what I could learn, and perhaps my biggest observation was that one leader of the Hindu faith, and even the Catholic pastor and progressive Christian (United Church of Christ pastor) who came, all discussed how the mass exodus of students from faith/churches isn’t a Christian epidemic, it is “Faith-wide.” In other words, people are leaving mosques and temples, not just churches. An overall interesting observation about the changing nature of faith and spirituality in America.

3. Lots of great discussion from students, many who identified as spiritual but not Christian, and yet had grown up in church and left. The reasons were many, but perhaps the dominant theme was feeling stuck between their faith and their brain, and not knowing what to do when they encountered other perspectives, religious and cultural, that made more sense to them than the beliefs of their pastors and parents. Interesting though, no one ever turns loose of Jesus. They leave church, they hate religion, but they remain downright fascinating with Jesus. This is where much of the discussion went. This, of course, fascinates me. Jesus remains a hopeful and uniting thread for those who have left the church and those that are still in it. We can regret the exodus, with good reason, but i do find it hopeful that Jesus is still front and center.

Cheers friends.