What does the search giant Google have to do with youth ministry?
In my latest essay at the interfaith website Patheos.com, I ponder this question and explore what it means to work with teens in progressive Christian congregations. In part one of the essay, I look at the parallel between the tendency to see our faith through the focused lens of our personal worldviews and the way in which Google, perhaps suprisingly, contributes to the limiting of that worldview:
[E]ven though Google was expected to make our personal worlds larger by connecting us to a vast storehouse of diverse information, in truth it has only helped to make our worlds smaller and increasingly homogenous. The more you use Google, it seems, the more it "learns" you and begins returning a narrow selection of results reflecting back your own opinions, politics, interests, and prejudices.
In part two, I argue for an approach to sharing the faith with teens that both values diverse thought but which also sees certain elements of Christainity as non-negotiable:
Are there aspects of Christianity to which we would say to our youth: "Here I stand. We have much latitude in how we interpret the faith, but around these issues we should all come together as one"? . . . .[W]hat I offer here are those non-negotiables that invite teens to take seriously the long tradition and history of the Church, to be in dialogue with the forebears of their faith and to seek an understanding of Christianity that is centered in the discernment of the community rather than solitary personal preferences.
You can check out these and other youth ministry essays at Patheos here.