Fr Brian D'Arcy This generation will find God in their own time
I WAS reading a fascinating dialogue between two of America's foremost spiritual gurus.
One is well known here.
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest who has guided most of us lost souls into the 21st century through his writings and his tapes.
He has helped me to find a loving God in the bits of pieces of my messy life despite what the fading institutions have tried to do to God. Two of his better known disciples are Oprah Winfrey and Bono!
The other speaker is Adam Bucko who is a Christian contemplative, an Episcopal priest and an activist on behalf of the poor.
Bucko is full of enthusiasm about the future generations. He is convinced they have the right attitude and we oldies who have lost the plot should learn from them!
Not only do the younger generation believe that there is one underlying reality at the foundation of all major world religions but they are also convinced different traditions and their unique approaches to God should complement one another.
This is how Bucko appreciates the challenge young people are offering us.
"It's important to say, a lot of young people don't actually identify with a tradition any more. . . . Many of our churches, synagogues and mosques are freaking out when they hear this, thinking that young people are no longer interested in the sacred.
" But to me it is clear that young people are not necessarily rejecting God, they simply feel that many religious organisations lost touch with reality and are too concerned with money, power, self-preservation, maintaining the status quo, and 'having right beliefs'.
"As a result, they tend to view them . . . as organisations that are spiritually bankrupt, that are no longer able to speak to and address some of the big questions of our time.
"And it takes deep insight and spiritual courage to see that. It is for this reason and many others that I don't think of the rise of the 'spiritual but not religious' among our youth as a sign of spiritual decline but rather a new kind of spiritual awakening."
Bucko believes we have to acknowledge that when older people hear about spiritual and not religious people, they often immediately think that these are people who are just shopping around and not really that committed.
But when we look at some of the people who come from that group, we realise that actually many of them spend more time in spiritual practices than regular churchgoers do.
Richard Rohr wholeheartedly agrees.
"I can honestly say that I have observed many of these same things in my work with young people... I do not see a lack of spirituality and good faith in many seekers of the next generation, but an abundance of it and a deep desire to live with integrity and in alignment with their values. Such people are not satisfied with a faith simply handed to them by an institution or the previous generation. They insist on investigating what is truly important for transformation and a more just and compassionate world."
Two genuine prophetic figures in different sections of the Christian church agree that the young people who reject what we have handed down to them are, in fact, truly genuine seekers after truth.
They will find a meaning in life that will be relevant for their generation.
It's time for us older lemons to leave the future to those who will have to live in it. They will find God in their time and place because God is always there to be found.