Tag Archives: Skye Jethani

What do we call ourselves?

I really enjoyed this from Skye Jethani: Why Are There No “Christians” on Twitter?

He notes that in his wanderings of Twitter profiles, “Very few used the word Christian, and no one used the word Evangelical” to describe themselves.

And then he brings up a great point, which is that “Evangelical is applied so broadly that few seem to believe it holds much meaning,” which presents an interesting issue to our discussion of evangelicals and the interfaith movement.

To add to Skye’s point, my Twitter profile identifies me by my activities and not explicitly by my faith:

MD/PhD student at the University of Illinois. Leading @globalhealthIL, co-founder of @flprotestants, long-time @uiucinterfaith enthusiast.

But I resonate with Skye’s point that the term evangelical is tricky – it seems to carry a lot of baggage in addition to holding a rather vague definition. What’s interesting to me is that I’m most comfortable calling myself an evangelical in the interfaith setting. Why?

Because I know that folks who do interfaith work aren’t going to immediately jump to conclusions based on how I describe my faith. Outside of an interfaith context, I don’t have that luxury: I fear that people will jump to conclusions and ascribe certain qualities based on some of the more prominent (and abrasive) so-called evangelicals. I’ve talked about this a little bit in the past.

At the end of the day, I’m interested in showing people the characteristics of the compassionate, loving example I follow in Jesus and to communicate the message of the gospel in the same manner. I hope that choosing to call myself an evangelical won’t lead people to jump to negative conclusions about my character before I have a chance to do that.

Perhaps this is just another reason why we need more evangelicals doing interfaith work. It’s also another example of why actions must speak louder than words.

In case you missed the link, Skye’s blog is here: http://www.skyejethani.com/why-are-there-no-%E2%80%9Cchristians%E2%80%9D-on-twitter/1204/

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The consequences of youth ministry

Skye Jethani commented recently on an idea put forth by Tony Jones, suggesting that relational youth ministry is responsible for the emerging church movement (read Tony’s blog here).

Jethani suggests some of the unintended consequences that may have come from the model of youth ministry that has been practiced for the past several decades:

…I’m concerned that youth ministry is forming the values of isolation and activism into Millennials. They’re relationally isolated from other generations in the church, and their faith is isolated from any sense of calling or vocation. At the same time they are linking faith to social action toward the poor and marginalized, but this is often emotionally driven without a theological rootedness that can fuel engagement when emotion runs dry. Without a robust theology of justice, in time compassion fatigue may set in and activism slip into apathy.”

And it got me to thinking. What does this mean about the way the next generation of Christians relates to a religiously-diverse world? Social action that is not rooted in theology is a concern – especially when social action is the way one relates to people of other faith traditions. What do you think?

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