Teenagers Ditching Youth Group & Church

[caption id="attachment_2356" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="photo by marcia furman"][/caption] USA Today published a short piece on how the days of overcrowded youth groups and church trips are over.

Only about one in four teens now participate in church youth groups, considered the hallmark of involvement; numbers have been flat since 1999. Other measures of religiosity — prayer, Bible reading and going to church — lag as well, according to Barna Group, a Ventura, Calif., evangelical research company. This all has churches canceling their summer teen camps and youth pastors looking worriedly toward the fall, when school-year youth groups kick in.
A few individuals guess why kids are ditching:
"Talking to God may be losing out to Facebook," says Barna president David Kinnaman.
"I blame the parents,"who didn't grow up in a church culture, says Jeremy Johnston, executive pastor at First Family Church in Overland Park, Kan. ... "Remember, 80% of kids don't have cars. Their parents could be lazy or the opposite — overstressed and overcommitted. If parents don't go to church, kids don't, either."
Don't forget the overcommitted teens themselves, the recession and growing competition from summer mission trips, says Rick Gage of Go-Tell Youth Camps, based in Duluth, Ga.
But then this quote sneaks in at the very end without any explanation or curiosity from the authors:
"I started to question if it was something I always wanted to do or if I just went because my friends did," says Atkeson, now 18. "It just wasn't really something I wanted to continue to do. My beliefs changed. I wouldn't consider myself a Christian anymore."
This is where I think the article would get interesting! Why did they stop there? This may be the most important issue---beyond lazy parents and facebook. There must be more to kids leaving Christianity other than "I'm not attending church" or "I'm not going to camps with my youth group." Many Christians often say things like, "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a mechanic." If Christianity and faith is so much more than just attending services, then what's causing this shift in teen commitments? (more…)


Twilight Quotes That Make You Go OMGWTF

I'm subjecting myself to seeing New Moon today with my girlfriends [Edit: I was going to see it, but then I came down with some nasty virus]. I am the only non-fan among them, so I've been acting out by glorifying all that is horrible and hilarious about the book series. Not familiar with Twilight? Unsure if you should read it or not? Here, this should solve everything. (Spoiler alert. ...I can't believe I care about saying that.) Now the proof that your children should not be reading these books! But perhaps you should if you love to hate things like I do. Quotes were gathered from various sources (mostly this one)--but not my brain nor my books (which I shall not admit to reading unless under extreme duress). <3 & gay sparkles! --GG

I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me. -Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 1, p.14
"My name is Stephanie Meyer and I just learned about foreshadowing in 8th grade Language Arts!"
Edward: "Besides, friends don’t let friends drive drunk." Bella: "Drunk?" Edward: "You’re intoxicated by my very presence." Edward: "Are you still faint from the run? Or was it my kissing expertise?"
His cold touch on my skin never failed to make my heart thud erratically. Twice, when that happened, I caught a look on his face that made me sure he could somehow hear it. -Bella
Anyone else wonder what happens when she farts?
I knew what had to happen now. The girl would have to come sit beside me, and I would have to kill her. She would not have time to scream or feel pain; I would not kill her cruelly. That much I would give this stranger with her horribly desirable blood. -Edward Cullen, Midnight Sun
"Well shit, I just wanted to borrow your Bunsen burner; you didn't have to bite my head off!"
When I came here as a child, he would always remove the bullets as soon as he walked in the door. I guess he considered me old enough now not to shoot myself by accident, and not depressed enough to shoot myself on purpose. -Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 2, p.35
No, that starts in book 2.
His fingers were ice-cold, like he’d been holding them in a snowdrift before class. But that wasn’t why I jerked my hand away so quickly. When he touched me, it stung my hand as if an electric current had passed through us. -Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 2, p.45
Cliché #257 accounted for!
I was consumed by the mystery Edward presented. And more than a little obsessed by Edward himself. -Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 3, p.67 I was completely absorbed, except for one small part of my mind that wondered what Edward was doing now, and trying to imagine what he would be saying if he were here with me. -Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 6, p.117
Aaaaaand obsessed needy girlfriend is born.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Now for the creeptastic best-of-the-best!

You’re always crabbier when your eyes are black — I expect it then. -Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 8, p.171
Expect what exactly? Red flag! (more…)