by Matthew Lee Anderson, The City
(A publication of Houston Baptist University)
...The rejection of partisanship by younger evangelicals is part of a broader deterioration and rejection of the institutions that shaped the identities of our parents. While younger evangelicals may claim to be above the partisan fray politically, they are increasingly segregated into self-selected niche communities from which they derive—or better, create—their respective identities. Despite its claims to reject modernity, this communitization suggests the triumph of western liberalism over the evangelical mind....
...This principle of self-control and self-realization undergirds young evangelicals’ consumption of media. The new mantra of cultural engagement provides young evangelicals an effective cover to consume the same media as their peers. They are deeply convinced that such media has no effect on their lives—remaining confident they are carefully protected from the bad effects of consumerism by their flawless decision-making abilities.
This is one of the deep ironies of the young evangelical ethos. While vehemently rejecting the consumerism of 20th century evangelicalism, young evangelicals have adopted a new consumerist mindset under the guise of engagement with culture—a mindset that earns them access into the social standing they desire. The consumerism that has infected the core of evangelicalism has not been eradicated in the younger generations—it has simply been subsumed under a new teaching. Young evangelicals aspire to be urbane, sophisticated, and not appear judgmental or harsh—they want to be cool. And being cool means tossing aside the social mores that many of them grew up in, and transforming themselves into faith-soaked libertines....
...Young evangelicalism, then, is not so different from previous iterations. It shares the same contours, the same pursuits, and even the same human propensity to self-deception as previous generations. But it is different in its expression, and in this it presents new opportunities and challenges for the Church in America.
The above excerpts are from a lengthy essay by Matthew Lee Anderson. Please use the link above to access the full essay.