Diana Butler Bass is one of the smartest women I know. A historian with a hand on the pulse of contemporary religious culture, I admire her like crazy, so when she expressed some disagreement with my post at CNN, "Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church," my first instinct was to curl up in a ball and cry. My second instinct was to listen. Because it's Diana Butler Bass. She's probably right.
Anyway, Diana gave a lecture on the topic which is super-informative and insightful and gently corrective. Her thesis is that “rather than being particularly unique in their generational concerns, millennials have inherited three significant sets of questions that weave throughout American religious history with some regularity. These are questions related to doubt, disestablishment, and diversity.”
In other words, the questions and issues I raise in the post aren’t new; these questions and issues are recurring ones in American religious culture (though they have manifested themselves differently through the years) and have been inherited by my generation. This observation is really helpful because it helps me understand where we millennials are situated in the larger story of American religious history.
So I suppose it's less that she thinks I'm wrong and more that I need a little context. Point taken!
I learned a lot from the lecture, and if you resonated with my post, I suspect you will too. (The lecture itself is only 40 minutes or so.)
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