Christianity has a new face

Jason Okamoto

There is a new face of Christianity and it looks nothing like their parents. Christianity strikes every time I see a young kid with clean skater clothes, spiky hair and a What Would Jesus Do wrist-band on.

Whether it be hip or cool is beside the point, but there is a confidence displayed in this New Christian Youth Movement that leaves little room for crooked hypocrisy. This would be the hypocrisy that plagues the Church, giving off the impression that most Churches are hideous institutions used to brain wash easily impressionable minds.

A lot of younger Christians are ashamed of this view, knowing that this gives their faith many cult-like characteristics. The general public’s impression is that it must be weird if one were so proud and even excited about their faith that they show it outside of certain designated buildings.

The truth is that this honest consciousness of social faith is really what they are all about, but it is not intended to scare people off. For Christianity is not merely an exclusive club, just as everyone who has faith under-arm deodorant doesn’t have their own club.

A friend of over sixteen years, studying to be in youth ministry, recently told me, “If Christians constantly spend time in a Church with other Christians, then they are essentially not doing what God has asked them to do.” (Note: He has not once asked me to go to Church with him.)

Most young Christians who are part of the movement relate to post modernism.

In an article written by Zeth Green entitled “Christianity and Unity in the Post-modern Age,” he writes, “In the post-modern world, people (Christians) no longer fit into prescribed boxes.”One who echoes this belief is Jim Elliston, a Sacramento State grad student in Organizational Communication Studies. “We aren’t concerned with fitting into a mold,” Elliston says. “It (Christian faith) works for me, but it doesn’t work for everybody, and I’m cool with that.”

This post-modern spirituality contributes to easier social interaction amongst people, particularly young people, like myself who was raised to believe that Candlestick Park was the holiest place one could be on a Sunday morning. Whenever talking with a person who I know is a devote Christian, I try hard not to say something that would offend their system of values. However, it never occurred to me that they might also be trying hard not to offend me.

Elliston encourages a new attitude, which respects the differences of individuals. “People don’t care about what you think if they aren’t interested,” Elliston says, “I just want to chill and relate with people however I can.”

The fear that Elliston expressed was the fad of Christianity. Certain clothing styles and Christians rock music he finds to be “embarrassing” and hurts the movement more than it does good.I would have to agree and shamefully admit that despite how self-righteous I might sound; I have been weirded out when attending the few Christian youth events that other people have dragged me to.

It might be because I’m not as mature in the faith as they are. Or maybe because I simply don’t want to be in any environment where I feel that I am out numbered and overwhelmed by something that I do not get.

And probably something that I don’t want to fake. A wise man once told me that most all of the major religions are based on the same values.

My mother, God bless her, has told me on more than one occasion, that I am going to H-E-Double Hockey sticks. For the most part I am a lazy human being and will never have the equal faith of my best friend, or Jim Elliston, or any other young person in “the movement.”

However, I have just as much faith in the fact that I can sit down with them, enjoy a conversation over a cup of coffee with them, and know that we might be better people for it.