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July 27th, 2013
08:33 AM ET

Why millennials are leaving the church

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

(CNN) - At 32, I barely qualify as a millennial.

I wrote my first essay with a pen and paper, but by the time I graduated from college, I owned a cell phone and used Google as a verb.

I still remember the home phone numbers of my old high school friends, but don’t ask me to recite my husband’s without checking my contacts first.

I own mix tapes that include selections from Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but I’ve never planned a trip without Travelocity.

Despite having one foot in Generation X, I tend to identify most strongly with the attitudes and the ethos of the millennial generation, and because of this, I’m often asked to speak to my fellow evangelical leaders about why millennials are leaving the church.

Armed with the latest surveys, along with personal testimonies from friends and readers, I explain how young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

I point to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness.

I talk about how the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules, and how millennials long for faith communities in which they are safe asking tough questions and wrestling with doubt.

Invariably, after I’ve finished my presentation and opened the floor to questions, a pastor raises his hand and says, “So what you’re saying is we need hipper worship bands. …”

And I proceed to bang my head against the podium.

Time and again, the assumption among Christian leaders, and evangelical leaders in particular, is that the key to drawing twenty-somethings back to church is simply to make a few style updates - edgier music, more casual services, a coffee shop in the fellowship hall, a pastor who wears skinny jeans, an updated Web site that includes online giving.

But here’s the thing: Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters, and we’re not easily impressed with consumerism or performances.

In fact, I would argue that church-as-performance is just one more thing driving us away from the church, and evangelicalism in particular.

Many of us, myself included, are finding ourselves increasingly drawn to high church traditions - Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Episcopal Church, etc. - precisely because the ancient forms of liturgy seem so unpretentious, so unconcerned with being “cool,” and we find that refreshingly authentic.

What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.

We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.

We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.

You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.

Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus.

Now these trends are obviously true not only for millennials but also for many folks from other generations. Whenever I write about this topic, I hear from forty-somethings and grandmothers, Generation Xers and retirees, who send me messages in all caps that read “ME TOO!” So I don’t want to portray the divide as wider than it is.

But I would encourage church leaders eager to win millennials back to sit down and really talk with them about what they’re looking for and what they would like to contribute to a faith community.

Their answers might surprise you.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • evangelicals • Opinion

soundoff (9,864 Responses)
  1. Observer

    The danger of too much power for religious fanatics was shown in the killing of "witches" in New England and the Salem witch hunts. They killed about 3 dozen people.

    Great example of why we needed separation of church and state.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:16 am |
  2. super s'moore

    Reblogged this on super s'moore and commented:
    Well, this pretty much sums it up!

    July 30, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  3. tallulah13

    I suspect millennials are leaving the church because they can. In times past, they may have been shunned by their communities or even physically punished by church leaders for daring to voice discontent about the church with which they were affiliated. Now we are free to speak out without fear. It's wonderful to live in a secular country where everyone's beliefs and non-beliefs are protected by law.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • Athy

      As soon as people realize the stigma of leaving "the flock" isn't so bad (after all many of their friends have left) there'll be a mass exodus. The only ones left will be the older folks who have too much emotional investment. When they diei off, so will the church.

      July 30, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  4. Mikki

    It's not just millennial's who leave the church, but also some of the older generation, too!

    July 29, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Dippy

      Millennials, not millennial's.

      July 30, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Athy

      Right you are, Mikki. A lot of my friends (members of the "mature" generation) no longer attend church. Don't know why, I've never asked, but I think they just no longer need it.

      July 30, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • Hurting Badly

        I am at the end of the baby boomer generation. I am seriously considering leaving the church I go to. I am punished for life from participating in certain things, been told exactly what some of the staff think of me, and not being forgiven for some things that happened. I used to feel welcome there. I don't dare voice my thoughts anymore because more punishment and the silent treatment will follow again. I no longer feel like I have a true church home. I have been yelled by clergy in public. No, I can't say anything. I crave a genuine relationship with my church and a place to contribute my gifts without being isolated from the rest of the congregation. Sometimes I still get suicidal from all the memories of being told exactly how awful I am by the church. It is all superficial now. No meaningful conversations, invitations, etc. I was told no one was going to ask be to be a part of anything anymore. Basically this person was saying I would have to beg to have a chance of being included in anything. Turns out this is true. To top it off, I was actually told I was no longer needed in front of church staff. What a fool I have been for sticking around. Thank you for opening my eyes a bit more.

        July 30, 2013 at 2:57 am |
        • tallulah13

          There is no reason to stay where you feel abused. There are other communities out there to join for fellowship, be they religious or secular.

          July 30, 2013 at 9:33 am |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Hurting

          Unless you crave the drama, There is absolutely no reason for you to spend one more second on these people, this church,....or any church for that matter. If you cant get enough of the drama- leave anyway...they ll chase you down when your cash isn't landing on the tray anymore.....rinse, repeat....

          July 30, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  5. Colin

    I.m a millennial and yesterday (Sunday) morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, we have faith in Hank. It’s good to have faith in Hank and bad to question, doubt or think skeptically of what Hank says. Hank will kick the guts out of you if he finds out you do that.

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    From jhuger.com

    July 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  6. Donna

    Why are millenials leaving the church? Pretty obviously, the beliefs of the church are idiotic, and better access to information and discussion that has come with the advent of the internet has exposed them as such. Church and religious belief are going extinct. Hurray!

    July 29, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Harry Cline

      @Donna,

      After three days of posting now on this thread it just dawn on me, and it wasn't until I read your comment about those leaving the church. Your age group has never been in the church.

      I think the author at 32 is way off even more now. I can't see now how she can even make that claim that the young people are leaving when they where never there. Maybe as a child going on occasion with their parents, but that's about it.

      You mention all that information available on the web. And where do you think most it comes from ? The basement dwellers. The conspiracy freaks and the pseudo intellectuals.

      The evidence to that can be found right on this thread. Most have no understanding how science works and even less how a God operates. Mixed up, confused, and that's because they know nothing about God. What they have seen is scandal after scandal in the church as well as those who hide behind a God and or use a God for political reasons or to justify their behavior.

      And at this age group I'm really not sure they are all that enlighten to begin with. It's really still all about ME.
      They claim not to want to be told what to believe, that they seek opposing view points and yet we see right here on this thread very little critical thinking.

      The real truth about you young so called future wave is that you have very little interest in anything outside your very, very narrow view point. Yes we know you think your horizons are broaden. Look around kiddies the world is a bigger s–t hole today then yesterday.

      Where's that big contribution to society, you know where it's been ? Sipping on a bitter tasting cup of coffee trying to sound and act sophisticated. Worry about paying off that massive fraud called higher education you got sucked into and now are working far removed from your goal.

      Listening and believing the 'rich pimps' trying to sell the world some form of alternative this, that and the other, while conditions in the third world have now come to America. Voting on issues that do nothing except for what feels good.

      Don't want or need a God in your life, doubtful even at 40 most of you will ever know what you want, only what you don't want, but not by experience. But by those who have told you you don't want it. Meanwhile your rose colored s–t hole here on earth is filling up faster.

      "rats on the east side and rats up town don't mind the maggots this towns in shatters"
      -RS

      July 30, 2013 at 4:46 am |
      • skytag

        "After three days of posting now on this thread it just dawn on me, and it wasn't until I read your comment about those leaving the church. Your age group has never been in the church."

        More fact-free rationalizing.

        "I think the author at 32 is way off even more now. I can't see now how she can even make that claim that the young people are leaving when they where never there. Maybe as a child going on occasion with their parents, but that's about it."

        The arrogance required to pass such sweeping judgments is mind-boggling.

        "You mention all that information available on the web. And where do you think most it comes from ? The basement dwellers. The conspiracy freaks and the pseudo intellectuals."

        This is repugnant. Now you're just flailing desperately.

        "The evidence to that can be found right on this thread. Most have no understanding how science works and even less how a God operates."

        Your explanations demonstrate you don't understand either. Perhaps you're one of those bottom-dwellers?

        "Mixed up, confused, and that's because they know nothing about God. What they have seen is scandal after scandal in the church as well as those who hide behind a God and or use a God for political reasons or to justify their behavior."

        What a load of malarkey. Unable to support your views with any sound arguments you've turned to lies and unsupported character assassinations.

        July 30, 2013 at 5:11 am |
        • Harry Cline

          @skytag,

          Still searching are we Hang in there and keep reading. Your mind will get it right eventually. I may make you a special case. You could have potential, will see.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:15 am |
        • skytag

          @Harry Cline: "Still searching are we Hang in there and keep reading. Your mind will get it right eventually. I may make you a special case. You could have potential, will see."

          This smug, condescending drivel is pathetic.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:18 am |
      • skytag

        "And at this age group I'm really not sure they are all that enlighten to begin with. It's really still all about ME."

        Religion is always about "me," especially Christianity. I am saved. I will see my loved ones again after we die. God loves me. Jesus loves me. God sacrificed his son for me. God wants me to be happy. God will protect me and my loved ones. God answers my prayers. God comforts me. God lightens my burdens. I may not have what I want, but God will ensure I have what I need.

        On and on it goes. Me, me, me, I, I, I, my, my, my. Nothing is more self-absorbed and self-serving than the basic tenants of all Christian belief. The supposedly selfless parts are just what's required to get what me wants.

        "They claim not to want to be told what to believe, that they seek opposing view points and yet we see right here on this thread very little critical thinking."

        I have repeatedly demonstrated your lack of critical thinking. Whis is that only a problem in other people?

        July 30, 2013 at 5:15 am |
        • Harry Cline

          @skytag,

          There you go again confusing a God with religion. You have to somehow separate that in your mind. You may hear about a God through religion or in a church but highly doubtful you'll experience it on a personal level through those venues.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:22 am |
        • skytag

          @Harry Cline: "There you go again confusing a God with religion. You have to somehow separate that in your mind. You may hear about a God through religion or in a church but highly doubtful you'll experience it on a personal level through those venues.:

          There you go again making excuses and babbling meaningless paltitudes. I haven't confused anything. All belief in God is self-serving, and none of it is based on any evidence. Get over yourself. You're not the brightest bulb in the box here just because you have a different opinion about all this. You're just a guy with access to the web spouting opinions, often ignoring well known realities.

          Belief in a supernatural god is what leads to all these religions, as I explained in detail. If all these people who believe in God have produced all these false religions, why should I believe your beliefs about God produce conclusions that are any more accurate or reliable? Because you're thpecial? You don't see special to me at all, just another arrogant, smug human being suffering from a delusion in which his view of God is better than everyone else's despite the fact he has no evidence to support anything he believes.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:52 am |
        • Harry Cline

          @skytag,

          Big bang is super natural belief as well. Get a grip. It's all super natural.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:00 am |
        • skytag

          @Harry Cline: "Big bang is super natural belief as well. Get a grip. It's all super natural."

          Rubbish. Stop trying to equate scientific theory with baseless religious claims. It's dishonest. Right or wrong, the Big Bang is a theory that was developed because it is consistent with the observable expansion of the universe, and no scientist claims the Big Bang is fact in the way religious believers claim the existence of God is a fact.

          Your beliefs about God are not an extension of any observable fact. I'm sick and tired of you acting like presenting baseless beliefs as facts is somehow comparable with scientific theories that aren't accepted as fact until they are confirmed by reliable observation. It's dishonest and makes it clear you're just trying to keep reality at bay.

          Furthermore, no one tells me I need to devote my life to seeking the Big Bang or end up in hell. No one asks me to donate money to The Church of the Big Bang. No one comes to my door trying to convince me to worship the Big Bang, accept it as my personal savior, spend my life praying to it, or believe it has magical powers that control events in the world around me.

          If someone wants to become a physicist and spend his life trying to explain the Big Bang he certainly has that option, but no one vilifies people who give it no thought at all. Believers like you, however, vilify and disparage anyone who won't validate your beliefs by doing what you claim they should do and agreeing with you.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:27 am |
        • Harry Cline

          @skytag,

          You have not the slightest inclination as to what I believe. Step back from your pulpit your sounding like a desperate person trying to make sense of it all. I would also suggest you serious discover what hypothesis and theory mean. And then come to realize the Big Bang is not proven.

          July 30, 2013 at 9:32 am |
        • Johnny

          A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation.

          July 30, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • skytag

          @Harry Cline: "I would also suggest you serious discover what hypothesis and theory mean. And then come to realize the Big Bang is not proven."

          More of your condescending BS. You are pathologically dishonest. Nothing I have ever said implies I think the Big Bang has been proven. Just the opposite in fact. Your need to consistently engage in these dishonest tactics where you deliberately misrepresent my position makes you look pathetic.

          And for the record, as someone who earned BS and MS degrees in applied mathematics from a well respected engineering school I can assure you my understanding of hypothesis and theory mean is just fine. That's why I don't have to resort to the kind of tactics that have become your bread and butter here.

          July 30, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • lol??

      lol??
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      It's gonna look like the race will go extinct, but not to worry,

      "Mar 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days."

      July 30, 2013 at 7:45 am |
  7. John

    Not gonna lie was lazy and didn't feel like reading all 67 pages of comments so this has probably already been stated. Being 25 the problem I find is that like the author stated churches try to hard to be hip or they just don't seem to care about anyone outside of their established congregation. Now I'm not classifying all churches this way, but these seem to be the most common two I run into. The turn off for me is when I walk into a church and feel like I'm at a rock concert and not a service. I know this excited some people and brings in others, but there is just something about a smoke machine and concert lights that turn me off while at church. Also when you walk into a church and feel like you might get excommunicated for sitting in a member's seat who has sat there for the past 50 years and hell will freeze before anything changes. I now see why home churches like Bloom in Denver are coming along and becoming successful. Unfortunately the church has been asleep for so long and turned their back on trying to change that many people feel that this damage can be repaired. I believe if churches would stop trying to be cool, love on their community, and spread the word of Jesus a sleeping giant would awake and change the future landscape of this country.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • lol??

      Paul already covered any pertinent problems. No new reinvented big wheels needed. Anything he missed the gubmint takes care of, for a slight fee of course. Paradise from the Frankfurt School has arrived, courtesy of Bloom and his Tax-on-o-me.

      July 30, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • hee hee

      I think that to turn people religious, or induce religious feelings, it is necessary to turn off the mind.

      Eastern religions use meditation. The monotheistic religions used music, incense, stained glass and high ceilings, back in the days when everyone didn't own a stereo and a TV and such things would have been more overwhelming. Now, many protestant churches use the same things used to rouse a crowd at a sports game or rock concert. I find all this telling.

      I can't prove this idea in a post. I'm just inviting you to consider it. Carry it around with you and see if it is consistent with what you see. If it doesn't fit you're always free to throw it away.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  8. Austin

    also I went from Jeremiah, to lamentations, and then i was getting into Daniel. this night, a few nights after the one chapter of Lamentations, I dreamd that another bunk mate had a pile of white feathers beneath his bed.

    ok this was very vivid and peculiar, but i had allready had 8 revelation allready, so i KNEW SOMEHTING WAS AROUND THE CORNER.

    and i read this that day in daniel................Nebuchadnezzar's Humiliation

    28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as EAGLES FEATHERS

    THEN THAT DAY, THAT KID GOT HIS WORK RELEASE REVOKED

    July 29, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      Perhaps you should ask your god to bless you with the ability to spell, since its obvious you personally suck at it.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
      • Austin

        sorry , I pad is difficult, in a hurry to communicate there............Lucifer.
        Any more questions or comments considering the supernatural synchronicity of the Spirit?

        there was a kitten at my house one day, white with distemper, all shaky. i had never seen it

        and that night i dreamed that i was in a frozen dark forest,and there was an A FRAME cabin. and i knocked and a lady let me in and said i have two kids. one kid was on a stool,, and the other was dead, and it's spirit was in the corner singing to me in 3 voices. and my body inverted and hung in air , and that kitten ran underneath me with blood gushing out of it. the next morning i woke up, and it was flat as a pancake, 550 feet from my house, out on the highway.

        I allready knew it was dead from the dream.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
      • Austin

        sorry , I pad is difficu.lt, in a hurry to comm.unicate there............Lucifer.
        Any more questions or comments

        there was a kitten at my house one day, white with distemper, all shaky. i had never seen it

        and that night i dreamed that i was in a frozen dark forest,and there was an A FRAME cabin. and i knocked and a lady let me in and said i have two kids. one kid was on a stool,, and the other was dead, and it's spirit was in the corner singing to me in 3 voices. and my body inverted and hung in air , and that kitten ran underneath me with blo.od gushing out of it. the next morning i woke up, and it was flat as a pancake, 550 feet from my house, out on the highway.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
        • Austin

          didn't know where i replied i thought i put in a word that hit the filter.

          July 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
      • SpellingQueen

        Just Call Me Lucifer.....while you were busy chastising someone for their atrocious spelling, you forgot to use an apostrophe in the word it's (contraction for it is, which is how you used it). I'm just saying.....

        July 29, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
        • Austin

          tallulah? akira? damocles? id say there is a 50 50 chance.

          July 29, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  9. Austin

    Then, this huge indian dude, a christian , who had listened to all of my situations with this stuff, was coming to bible study. i had writeen down a dream that i toured a house,and it had an above ground pool and a deck around it and a privacy fence.

    two days later, he came to me with a drawing, he was an architect and he drew a blue print of a hous, with an above ground pool with a privacy fence. and i said watch this, and i pulled the dream out and he sat there with his mouth wide open and i started crying man, because the Lord was working so huge is was somehting i will never forget.

    I felt like Joseph, or like Daniel.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Observer

      Austin,

      When are you going to give us some lottery numbers so we can see for ourselves?

      July 29, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
      • Austin

        BRO, right now , the Lord is handing me a gift on the piano. The Lord is going to bless His name.

        I drove my truck through a church, and the Lord has forgiven me and given me the spirit of revelation.

        The Holy spirit is a sanctifying spirit that bears the truth of God's word on a persons heart.

        July 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • Observer

          Austin,

          Did you read my question? Do you just spout out ramdom babbling without reading?

          If you actually want to convince everyone of your gift, just publicize a set of numbers for the next day's lottery. When they come in, no one will ever doubt you and you'll be famous and rich.

          Why are you so scared to prove you are telling the truth?

          July 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
        • hee hee

          @Observer: poor Austin may be having a psychotic break. Don't pick on him.

          I mean it. Read his posts, and think about his mental state.

          Austin: you may be in danger. Please see a doctor.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  10. Ankh

    If I might add something: another reason why (some) millennials leave the church is that they no longer belief in the core tenets of the faith, and you can't stay in the evangelical church if you don't believe the theology. I grew up in a conservative evangelical household. I left because I no longer believed that God (or Gods) exists, much less in the extremely specific theology of my church (e.g., the inerrancy of the Bible, whatever that means when you are trying to interpret a text that is written over a period of time, by many authors, thousands of years ago). What I miss about the church is twofold: the community support, and the ancientness of the traditions that still made it from the old church to my recently hatched denomination. Interestingly, my husband is Catholic and still considers himself thus, even though he is not much more believing than I, because the Catholic church (at least in the US) is more accepting of doctrinal differences between the church theology and what people actually believe. He never felt like he had to leave his faith tradition just because he disagreed with major parts of the theology, unlike my experience with the evangelical church. I sat through so many sermons as a child that discussed the hypothetical person sitting at the back of the church who came to church every Sunday yet didn't "believe". The message was clear: if you believe everything and have a "strong personal relationship with God", you are in; if not, you are an outsider, and need to shape up (the preferred option) or ship out. My husband's experience with the Catholic church is that it is much more inclusive, and so he still feels like he has a home there.

    I don't think my church could have kept me given the wide gap between what I believe and what it espouses, but many of my childhood friends wouldn't have left the church we grew up in if it had not been so theologically rigid and unquestioning. But fundamentally, if people can't buy the theology of evangelical churches, they are going to leave.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • markjamesdesign

      which is why the catholic faith is so watered down it means nothing- how can you have a faith that doesn't believe or back up what they believe with action? How can you say you are part of a faith when you don't practice it? Your husband if he doesn't believe in the tenants of the church or faith and doesn't practice them is not Catholic at all. That type of "faith" is meaningless.Not even worth discussing. Of course most will disagree with minor tenants or beliefs of the church but if say you dont believe in God or Christ as God and call yourself a Christian you are just full of crap.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
      • paulgeorgerandomism

        Well, taking that a step further, if you call yourself a Christian and you do believe, you are also full of crap, so you lose either way. Christianity is 100% crap 100% of the time.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  11. wandererwrites

    Reblogged this on God In Diverse Places and commented:
    Rachel Held Evans hits the nail on the head in her piece here "Why millennials are leaving the church". The church is changing but is the religion keeping up with it?

    July 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • lol??

      lol??
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      At this point in time churches are very dangerous places.

      "Hbr 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

      July 30, 2013 at 7:42 am |
  12. desertbrad

    Interesting...I moved from being life-long Protestant to Eastern Orthodox at the age of 65. Now I feel like I really go to church on Sunday instead of a political rally, rock concert or middle class pep rally.

    July 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
  13. Drummer Joe

    Dear Mrs. Evans,

    Thank you for your article. I appreciated your writing about how when one finds a well suited faith based community that they may find it "refreshingly authentic".

    Please keep doing what you do.

    – Joe

    July 29, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.