Monday, March 29, 2010


Our SugarPlum lives with her daddy (Son2) and mama2 (his wife).  Friday SugarPlum's mother and two little brothers were in a very serious automobile accident.  Her 1-year-old brother passed away the following day from injuries sustained.  Her 2½-year-old brother remains in critical condition.

Our attentions and concerns are close to home in this somber time, and I'll return in a week or two.

Pray for many people in a broad tapestry, if you would.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38, 39

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scrub That Little Kid

I'd only been postponing this little project for about two months, moving the stack of washcloths hither and yon.  I dared not actually put them away, because that's what I did with the new shower curtain I was making, when a more pressing matter arose, and I haven't figured out yet where away is.  I finally tired of looking at the washcloths, so I took the plunge this week. 

Of course, I bought cheap (and I do mean cheap) washcloths, so the challenge was particularly intense, for they ravel if you look at 'em crooked.  One glance at the bits and pieces told me my sewing machine would eat the animals posthaste, so I had to stitch them by hand.  This also may mean they'll disintegrate when put-to-the-scrub, but we'll hope not and not be present to witness the debacle, if it occurs.  I also have a propensity for not knowing what I'm doing (dispensing with the reading of instructions), which is the reason the bunny's soap holder is on his be-hind rather than belly.  Oh well.  I'm glad I save hotel soaps, because they're a great fit to the pouches.  I also struggled with the bunny's ears, discovering when I attached and turned the first time, one was sticking straight out the top of his head and the other lollygagging to the left.  Surgery ensued.

If you'd like to make your plum some puppet scrubbies, the pattern is here.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.  Genesis 2:2, 3

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Is That a Hair?

I traded coffee for green tea in November, yet have had perhaps 4 cups of either coffee or cappuccino since, not wanting to be militant about the decision.  This morning, it just seemed like this was a day for a cappu.

Now, I have a (sickeningly) ritualistic approach to making cappuccino, which involves all manner of accoutrements and what comes first, what's next, then what, and pretty perfect timing, in order to make it all come together and get that milk rightly steamed and pouffy.  I'm a little rusty now. 

I'd already set the machine to heat the water, when I remembered the fat cat broke the sugar bowl last week, so I scurried to the pantry for the sugar.  Then I opened the fridge door and discovered there was no milk, so I had to rush to the laundry room for milk (that's where we keep the cow) and rushing is no small feat in my old age.  The machine was gurgling by this time, so I quickly popped the cork on the cow, grabbed a mug from the cabinet with my right hand, tipped the cow with my left, then noticed a hair in the bottom of the mug.  Is that a hair?  I don't think so.  I think so.  No, it's a crack.  [machine is roaring]  POUR!  . . .  IT'S A HAIR!  I didn't want to waste any milk by pouring it into a mug with a hair in it, so I yanked the mug away and poured the milk on the floor. 

It was a crack.

Perhaps worst of all, now there's a clean spot on the floor, and I'll have to scrub the whole thing, so it'll all match.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.  Philippians 2:14, 15

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sheriff Jim

Not smitten with the article's title, I'll present the author's name, instead, as I encourage your perusal of perhaps the best article I've read in a very long time.

"If it were not so tragic it would be humorous, this nation is teetering on a precipice overlooking a black abyss of economic destruction and concomitant anarchy while daily we are confronted by the lying emissaries of a blatantly socialist media and a now totalitarian government telling us that every government action guaranteed to sink the ship is pulling us back from the brink.  Such talk is not only paradoxical, it is stupid."
  Read the entire article here, at

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.  Romans 1:28-32

Ancona Hen

This is an ugly hen, bless her scrawny little leghorn heart.

Miss Fancy Feathers is an Ancona.

Gotta love a polka-dotted chicken.

She lays white eggs.

She's leaving now.

So am I.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.  Hebrews 12:1

Monday, March 22, 2010

Breaking News: Confession

"This is what change looks like."  -Barack Obama (03/21/10; 11:47 p.m. ET)



"I want to thank every member of Congress who stood up tonight with courage and conviction to make health care reform a reality.  And I know this wasn't an easy vote for a lot of people."

Not an easy vote?  Whatever on earth might he be referring to?  Surely he's not referring to representatives losing their jobs in the next election, for in the same speech Barack Obama said, "It's a victory for the American people."

Was it a difficult choice for some representatives?  Like, um, maybe they'll lose their jobs because they cast their votes in opposition to the will of the people?  I'm reminded of another difficult choice Barack Obama favors: abortion.  I wish someone would explain to me what is difficult about choosing to have an abortion.  Might it be connected to the innate knowledge that one is having her own child killed? 

This morning, Kathleen Sebelius blathered about small business owners no longer needing to fear they'll lose employees who walk out the door and down the street to work for the employer who has better health insurance coverage to offer.  Too lame for words.  Ms. Sebelius, do you not know the average American is trying, hoping, to keep his job — any job — because no one down the street is hiring?

Pardon me, if I sound a little discombobulated this morning.  The moral compass of this nation is broken.   Some people are receiving the change they (ignorantly or knowingly) voted to acquire in 2008, and they're happy with it.  Unfortunately, the rest of us are going down with them.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Isaiah 5:20

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Demanding a Nanny

From the Sidebar
Fitted to the day's events, so it's moving front and center.

The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims.  The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which unawaredly enslave themselves.  ~Dresden James

...[I]mmoral, dysfunctional people who have crossed the moral line and thus become estranged from God now need the "god" of socialist government. ~David Kupelian

Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants.  ~William Penn

Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!  Matthew 18:7

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Midas and the Girls

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.  II Corinthians 1:3

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We Had Company

"Hey, Mom, you have to come outside and see who's here."

These bitsy little things are our CowNots.

This is not our CowNot.

It is also not standing in a CowNot pasture.
It's standing in our yard.
It's standing in our front yard.

See that house behind Charles in the photo above?  That's where the visitor lives.  You're going to see the house again in the final photo, and I mention that, because above it looks like Charles could throw a stone and hit it.  (He has a good arm.)  Just a little aside on photo lens perspective.  But back to the visiting CowNot...

She was friendly and sweet.
And big.

Wherever we were, she wanted to be.

She was really happy to be here.
See her smiling...

Clearly, she was going to follow us wherever we went, so we decided to walk her home, because we just didn't need our bushes pruned (read: gobbled to the ground), and we sure didn't want a CowNot in our house.  I walked her across the road and into the field, where her pasture mates were grazing.  When I turned to go home, so did she.  To my home.  So the fellows had to walk her down the road to her house.

That house on the left: that's the house it looked like Charles could smack with a rock.  His arm isn't that good.  But then, neither should we be throwing stones at the neighbors...whether their CowNots come calling or not.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Galatians 5:14

Monday, March 15, 2010

Poncho Milla

In other words, I'm the villain.  Thinkin' I was all Queen-Knitter and such, I finally knitted SugarPlum a poncho out of the eyelash yarn mentioned many moons ago.  Now, if you decide to visit ← that link, forget about what you see, because it ain't what we got.  That triangle sat on the needles for more than a year, before I pulled it off and went another direction.

The past week I've been knitting and flitting between the poncho and a purse: mostly poncho during the day and purse in the night, since seeing on the needle the bitsy threads beneath the fur was easier in daylight hours.  I finished the second 29"-long rectangle today and forced myself to immediately tackle the awkward piecing (shown here), which was supposed to produce a poncho.

Seam 1 was a breeze, and I was feeling much too confident after noticing the seam simply disappeared in the fur.  Oh, I'm good.  I'm sooo good.NOT!  Equally deftly, I sewed seam 2, wove-in the yarn tail, then held up my prize to receive my personal admiration — so richly deserved — only to discover I'd twisted (or not twisted) edge 2, so that I held before me a furry, twisty, ridiculous mass of what's-this that looked more like a bizarre sling than outerwear.

This might not have been SO very horrible, were it not for how marvelously the seams were hidden in the fur.  Where's the seam?  Where's the seam?  WHERE'S THE SEAM?!

Thought I found it.  Snip-snip.  Pull.  Pull some more.  Oopsie.  That wasn't the seam.  You read it right.  I cut a stinkin' hole in oh...35 or 40 hours of knitting.  Big hole.  So I grabbed the skein, threaded a needle, and started sewing like nobody's business.  Or like my business: monkey business.  Who knows if it'll hold up to plum pranks, but all I have to do is get that poncho out of this house.  Maybe after a wearing or two, the kid will have a vent and a tail or leash or something, but what I don't know won't hurt me.

I finally found the seam, snipped (with great fear and trepidation), rearranged, and sewed. 

It's not twisty now.  It's not crookedy or misshapen either; it just looks that way in the photo.  It's a poncho.

I have a headache.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  Titus 2:13, 14

Friday, March 12, 2010


If you thought that was an exhausting read, ya shoulda tried formatting it — including the two-hour struggle, two-hour break, then 10-minute dawn-on-me required to get the gargantuan empty space out of the post with the table in it.  Major panting.  And whining, of course.  Heavy on the whining.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  Hosea 4:6

Rejecting Adolescence in the Church - Conclusion

A Reasonable Response to an Unfounded Psychological Theory
by McKrunk
Part 8 — Conclusion
[Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

What Now?

The answer to this question ought to be simple and clear: We should follow the Biblical model for church, life, and ministry.

To begin with, we should all repent of our propagation of the psychological lie of adolescence.  Parents must begin to raise their children with the intention that they will enter young adulthood as they go through puberty.  All associated false scripts and negative attitudes must be discarded.  A real effort must be made to cut off this thinking and acting from the Body.  All those who have contact with young adults must treat them with the expectations that they can behave with self-control and dignity.

There must be an intentional effort to reintegrate the young adults into the church.  The formal segregation of youth groups, and the informal segregation of the young adults consistently gathering in corners of the church building ought to be ended.

The youth pastor ought to be lovingly relieved of extra- or anti-Biblical burdens and privileges and either transition to a Biblically mandated ministry if he is qualified, or given a severance sufficient enough to allow him to transition into another career.

The older men and women must take personal responsibility to mentor young adults; teaching them to be dignified, self controlled, temperate and respectable.  Young adults ought to also have the opportunity to involve themselves in the working world through apprenticeships and internships.

Those young adults who refuse to transition to adulthood after reasonable efforts have been made to encourage and support them in their transition, ought not be coddled by church or parents, but be allowed to face the consequences of his or her actions as an adult.


As stated earlier, it is often said that the difference between the church and the culture is “ten years.”  In the area of how the church treats its young adults, the church has the opportunity to take the lead, and widen the divide between church and culture by over one hundred-twenty years.

Churches who stand up for the Biblical truths of young adulthood and reject the psychological myths of adolescence will face consequences.  They may offend, and perhaps even lose, a portion of their congregation.  Those who speak out against youth groups will likely be scorned and persecuted by those in the church committed to the belief in the tradition of youth groups and the psychology of adolescence.  The hope associated with the message is well worth it.

Recognizing the “teen years” as years of early adulthood filled with productive energy and accomplishment would have a dramatic effect not only on the church, but on this entire nation.  The wealth being created, rather than consumed and wasted, by these new-found adults could provide better lives for everyone.  The ten-to twenty-year “head start” on adulthood by Christian young adults would produce wise elders in the next generation that would be far better equipped to mentor their generation of young adults than the elders of this generation.

This one action has the potential to position the church as a far brighter light to the world, as they would see in a clear and identifiable way that there is truth and wisdom in the word of GOD as they witness more mature, responsible, dignified and well-adjusted young adults who are startlingly and refreshingly different from the young adults they are accustomed to encountering, and who show a strength and passion in their commitment to Christ and the Church.  Let us light the lamp and put the foolishness of adolescence behind us.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen.  -Jude 1:24-25

[Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]

Sources Referenced

Barna Group (9-11-2006).  Most Twentysomethings Put Christianity on the Shelf Following Spiritually Active Teen Years. Retrieved Febuary 10, 2010, from

Epstein, Robert (2007).  The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen.  Sanger CA: Quill Driver Books/Word Dancer Press.

Epstein, Robert (June, 2007).  The Myth of the Teen Brain Scientific American Special Edition, Vol.17 Issue 2, 68-75.

Ferguson, Darrell (2007). [Sermon Notes: The Body of Christ (contd)What is a Church? Part 2].  Delivered 2-11-07 at Agape Bible Church, Thornton, CO.

Garland, Ken, & Fortosis, Steve (Spring, 1991).  Historical origins of professional evangelical youth work in the church.  Religious Education, vol. 86 Issue 2, 275-285.

Gingrich, Newt (11/10/2008).  Let’s Scrap Adolescence and Grow Up.  Business Week, 4107, 85-86

Palladino, Grace (1996).  Teenagers: An American History.  New York NY: Basic Books.

Ray, Brian D. (2003).  Homeshooling Grows Up.  Retrieved Febuary 10, 2010, from

Richter, Magnuson, & Baizerman (Summer 1998).  Reconceiving Youth Ministy.  Religious Education, Vol 93 #3.  340-357

Savage, Jon (2007).  Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture.  New York NY: Penguin Group.

Senter III, Mark H. (2004).  Horace Bushnell, Theodore Cuyler, and Francis Clark: a study of how youth ministry began.  Journal of Youth Ministry, Vol. 2 Issue 2, 31-51.

Smith, Michael J., & Farris, Michael P.  (10-22-2004).  Academic Statistics on Homeschooling.  Retrieved February 10, 2010, from

Vestal, Tommy.  The Un-foreseen Consequences of Age Segregation of Youth.  Retrieved Febuary 10, 2010, from

White, David F.  (3/13/2002) [Review of the book Youth Ministry in Modern America: 1930 to the Present] Christian Century, Vol. 119 Issue 6, 52-59.

Rejecting Adolescence in the Church - Part 7

A Reasonable Response to an Unfounded Psychological Theory
by McKrunk
Part 7
[Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

Is There a Baby in this Bathwater?

While recognizing some fundamental problems with modern youth ministry, some may yet argue that what is needed is that the ministry be reformed, and that we should not “throw out the baby with the bath water.”  There is ultimately no reason to maintain all or some part of a model of ministry when there is a Biblical alternative which can be administered in its stead.

While very few studies can be found to show that those raised in youth groups are more likely to remain faithful to Christianity and the Church, by far the more significant findings are that most go astray.  The Barna research group has found that:
In fact, the most potent data regarding disengagement is that a majority of twentysomethings -61% of today’s young adults -had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying).  Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences.  Another one-fifth of teens (19%) were never significantly reached by a Christian community of faith during their teens and have remained disconnected from the Christian faith (Barna, 2006).
The weight of the data is that youth groups have failed to produce spiritually mature adults, and even when some correlation is seen between spiritual perseverance and youth group attendance, there is likely a third cause for the phenomenon, such as parental involvement.  As the church has consistently witnessed the fact that young adults are leaving the faith en mass after their youth group days end, instead of coming to grips with the fact that the youth group is a failed experiment, they create more youth groups for college-aged “kids.”

Arguing that any positive results produced by youth groups justify their existence is fallacious.  If it is seen that those who smoke unfiltered Marlboro cigarettes for thirty years have a cancer rate of 70%, but those who smoke filtered Camel Ultra-Light cigarettes for a period of thirty years have a cancer rate of only 50%, one should not conclude that one ought to smoke Camel Ultra-Light cigarettes, but only that Camel Ultra-Light cigarettes are less damaging than Marlboros.  Youth groups’ practices of isolation, segregation, and infantilization of young adults contributes to the cancer of the myth of adolescence.  While the presence of Bible teaching, fellowship, and prayer most certainly counteract or minimize at least some of the negatives of the adolescent ethos, one does not need “youth group” to accomplish Bible teaching, fellowship, and prayer.

Thus, the wise course of action is to cut out the cancer-causing elements of the youth group.  As soon as those elements of age segregation, infantilization, and collusion with the myth of adolescence are removed from a youth group, the group can no longer meaningfully be identified as a youth group.

We are not aware of any studies that have been conducted in recent years on how integration into church and adult life effects the permanence and maturity of the Christian faith among young adults.  However, homeschooled people in general have more integrated contact with adults, and less segregation with a narrow age group, and many studies have been conducted demonstrating that those taken out of just one element of age-segregated society receive a great benefit.  Even though few homeschoolers reject the myth of adolescence, just one small step away from an institution built around the myth of adolescence has fairly potent results.

In 1997, a study of 5,402 homeschool students from 1,657 families was released.  It was entitled, "Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America."  The study demonstrated that homeschoolers, on the average, outperformed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects.  A significant finding when analyzing the data for 8th graders was the evidence that homeschoolers who are homeschooled two or more years score substantially higher than students who have been homeschooled one year or less.  The new homeschoolers were scoring on the average in the 59th percentile compared to students homeschooled the last two or more years who scored between 86th and 92nd percentile (Smith, 2004).

The effect is not only in the realm of academia, but life in general.

[Graphic tables pertaining to Activities in Local Community, Style of Living, Happiness Quotient, and Perspective on Life —]

History confirms that those generations of young adults who were integrated with older generations have a much higher rate of acceptance of the values and traditions of their parents than those generations who were not.  As previously noted, since the widespread acceptance of adolescent age segregation, defining generational mores shift at a rapid pace.  It is not a coincidence that the first widespread rejection of authority and traditional values, which happened in the 1960s, occurred shortly after the myth of adolescence had been fully integrated into society and age segregation had finally established itself firmly in the church.

Cont'd.  [Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]

Rejecting Adolescence in the Church - Part 6

A Reasonable Response to an Unfounded Psychological Theory
by McKrunk
Part 6
[Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Youth Pastors

While most churches adhere strongly to some or all Scriptural principals which speak explicitly to the positions of Elders, Deacons, Bishops, Teachers, Missionaries, Evangelists, and the congregant laity; how can these thousands of “youth pastors” be called, chosen, vetted, monitored, supported, etc. in keeping with Biblical mandates, when there is not even one Biblical (nor historical) mandate for any such office?

When one considers the ministry of the body to the younger adults in our midst, it seems irrational to assume that there might exist in the congregation one man who is best equipped to minister directly to all of the youngest adults, and that if such a man did exist he would be himself very young.  Indeed, of all the men in any given congregation, it seems that the man who is twenty-some years old (and, in most cases, possessing the attire and carriage that little distinguishes him from those placed in his charge) would be among the last people considered most Biblically fit for leading a ministry to the younger adults.  Rather, it seems most Biblical and logical in view of the texts presented within this article and the principles found throughout the whole of Scripture that the men most fit for ministry to the younger adults are those older adults, who, crowned with silver earned through years of life experience, have proven themselves to be among the more faithful, dignified, and respectable members that the younger generations would do well to emulate.  Indeed, older-to-younger ministry is not a calling nor an office for some, but a command to all.

What about those who have a “heart for the youth?”  What does it mean to have a “heart for” a certain age-segment of the Church?  This question cannot be answered Biblically, for there is no mention in Scripture of the Lord gifting anyone with a “heart for” ministry to any particular age.  We cannot presume to read the thoughts of those claiming to have a “heart for the youth,” but we can point these individuals toward the Word of God and humbly suggest that they prayerfully seek to gain a more balanced view of their place in the Body of Christ, where they are directed to love and minister to one another with no mention of any God-ordained age preferences.

Not only does the office of youth pastor often serve to excuse parents from raising children into adults, but it can unwittingly encourage them to shirk this responsibility.  The office of the youth pastor and the presence of the youth group can lead parents to believe that it is their duty to get out of the way of the “God-ordained” teen professional with a “heart for the youth.”  This phenomenon appears to be physically represented as young adults in most modern churches no longer join their families even in the general assembly on Sunday mornings, rather they cluster like ducks in a row with their peers and their youth pastor.  Sadly, it is not uncommon for some youth pastors to subtly incite their pupils to resent their parents by presenting themselves as the cooler, wiser, and more relatable figure in their lives.  In some cases, this action is not subtle, with youth pastors overtly and foolishly dismissing the wisdom of parents and elders.  Even in cases where a young man leading the youth group does have the wisdom to avoid this folly, it exists to a degree by default, as the young adults inevitably recognize that the authority the church places directly over them is not an older person, but another young person.

Attack on Unity

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. -1 Corinthians 12:11-13

At the church which we attend, the time that might normally be set aside for Sunday school in most churches is instead utilized for fellowship.  Small groups of eight to ten people meet together to pray, encourage, exhort, and get to know one another.  The groups are not formed by any social categorization, rather people from varying life stages and situations fellowship and support one another.  After a certain number of weeks or months, the groups are reshuffled so the entire church has an opportunity to get to know, support, and learn from one another.  The entire church, that is, except for the young adults.  The young adults are never integrated into the rest of the congregation, and never reshuffled.

This same church dedicates one night each month to simply enjoy one another while playing games.  Everyone gathers in one room, and intermingles at multiple tables with various games.  After attending a couple of these events, we were curious as to why none of the young adults were in attendance.  Upon making inquiry, we were disheartened to discover that there were in fact young adults present, however rather than intermingle with everyone else, they had segregated themselves to a different section of the church to play their games.

Every Sunday morning these young adults gather together in one particular corner of the sanctuary, along with the youth pastor, to listen to the sermon.  One Sunday, we arrived early and sat in “their” corner of the church so we could hear a colleague of mine play piano, as he was subbing for our regular pianist.  Instead of the youth group seating themselves around us, or interacting with us in any way, the entire group of young adults moved to the opposite corner of the church.

This group of young adults, like most youth groups, even has its own name that distinguishes it as being separate from the rest of the congregation.  It is clear that there are two distinct churches in this situation.

Unfortunately, in most cases the youth group serves as a parasitical mini-church attached to the main church, rarely or never providing active service to the body, but draining the body of both financial and personnel resources.  With the Bible’s commandments to be one body, and the clear instruction that each member exists not for itself but to serve the other members, we cannot help but be curious as to how these two distinct churches that meet under one roof justify their separate existence.  Dr. Darrell Ferguson states that:
When some body part is doing something that is not part of a coordinated effort with the rest of the body parts there is a word for that.  It is called a spasm.  It accomplishes nothing. . . We love to just operate our own little world, and involve other people when we feel the need, but it is very hard for us to break out of our individualistic mentality and embrace the corporate mentality that Scripture presents.

There are a lot of Christians who are off in their own little corner, with no real, vital connection with the body, doing their own little ministry in their own little private world.  That is not God’s design (Ferguson, 2007).
Though the above comments from Dr. Ferguson were directly related to individuals, it should be recognized that this principle is just as true when a small clique of relatively homogeneous believers decides to form their own world within the church.  Neither the church nor the youth of the church can have a most healthy life until they are integrated together in a real, deep, and meaningful manner.

The glory of young men is their strength, And the honor of old men is their gray hair. (Proverbs 20:29)  By constantly sequestering the young adults into a youth-centered social clique, we are robbing the church of energy and vitality and squandering that invaluable resource on games, field trips, lock-ins, and other forms of “wholesome entertainment.”

In the already fragmented and disassociated sub-church of the youth, one often finds additional groups within the youth ministry as increasingly, the sub-church of the youth group breaks itself into groups of “younger teens” and “older teens,” or “junior high” and “senior high.”  Sometimes cliques form based on relationships at schools, or geographic proximity.  With the precedent already being set that it is not only acceptable but beneficial to divide the church on socio-economic grounds, it is no surprise to find the young adults taking the initiative in further dividing their mini-churches into even smaller categories and disassociations.

Cont'd.  [Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]

Rejecting Adolescence in the Church - Part 5

A Reasonable Response to an Unfounded Psychological Theory
by McKrunk
Part 5
[Parts 1, 2, 3, 4]

Young Adults Are to Be Taught by Older Adults

From this point, we will no longer use the secular, psychological labels of “teenager” or “adolescent,” but the Biblical term, “young adult.”  Fortunately, the Bible gives us some specific instruction on how a young adult should be trained.

All the usual ways in which any normal Christian adult grows apply to young adults.  There are no exceptions in Scripture concerning the normal methods of Christian growth and fellowship that exclude young adults.  The Bible does not indicate that young adults will not grow through listening to the word of God preached, or that fellowship with the body will not have effect on those aged thirteen to twenty years unless it is preaching from a young, relatable youth pastor and fellowship with their immediate peers.

In addition to the normal manner in which a Christian grows, the Bible does give some specific instructions on how young adults are to be discipled:
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.  In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.  -Titus 2:1-8 (emphasis added)

This passage tells much.  First, that young adults are especially and specifically to be trained by older adults.  While there is not exclusivity in this passage (as noted above, the normal methods for Christian growth such as fellowship with the whole body still apply), it is only ever specifically stated concerning training of young adults that such training should be undertaken by “older” adults.  A brief word study confirms that this word “older” was not intended to reference someone comparatively older than a very young adult, such as a twenty-year-old mentoring a sixteen-year-old, but the word actually refers to old adults.  The Bible never indicates anything resembling a “relatable” youth pastor who ought to be younger and more hip in order to “reach out” to the young adults.

This passage also instructs older Christians to train the younger Christians: Through encouragement, through urging, and through example.  Furthermore, it indicates what elder Christians are to encourage and urge younger Christians to be.  Not included in the list is the need to have the younger people let loose with regularly scheduled game times and fun to lull the young adults into listening to a sermonette.

The older women are to encourage the younger women to “love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”  This is the opposite of the indulgent games and recreation that constitute the centerpiece of the modern youth group.

The elder men are to “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”  Note that the imperative to be sensible is repeated to both the young men and women.

The word translated “sensible” comes from the Greek “sophroneo,” and means:
• to be of sound mind
• to be in one's right mind
• to exercise self control
• to put a moderate estimate upon one's self, think of one's self soberly
• to curb one's passions

Here we find in Scripture a picture of behavior, attitude, and spiritual discipline led by aged adults which is the polar opposite of the expectations and goals that the youth group culture places upon young adults.  While there is certainly nothing in Scripture which would prohibit times of fellowship spent in recreation and relaxation; the lock-ins, retreats, field trips, game times, and general entertainment-centered thrust of youth ministry displays an imbalance that reaches harmful extremes and reinforces the world’s view of young adults as overgrown children who must be constantly indulged and pacified in order to avoid mischief.

Lastly, we find that the elder Christians are to lead by example.  Not an example of how one can be a cool Christian, and not an example of how one can have so much fun as a Christian.  Their behavior and example is to be comprised of temperance, dignity, sensibility, soundness in faith, love, perseverance, reverence, good teachings, good deeds, purity of doctrine, and soundness of speech which is beyond reproach.

Young Christians mentored by their peers Young Christians mentored by aged Christians
Encouraged to be silly Taught to be sensible and sound in speech
Hunched over, Dressed like the world Dignified
Mentor example of coolness/relate-ability Mentor example of dignity
Segmented and segregated Whole and integrated
Coarse speech Speech beyond reproach
Teenagers are sneered at and case aside Young adults are embraced as an integral part of the body
The body often indulges the youth group The yound adults serve the church as they are served by the church
Barely controlled Self-control
Slothfulness Example of good deeds

At this point, one might be thinking that, right or wrong, the fact remains that in our culture most people aged thirteen through twenty years are intellectually children and that fact cannot be ignored by the church but must be addressed through a segregated ministry.

• Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; -Proverbs 22:15a
• He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. -Proverbs 13:20

Through these verses it is made obvious that Satan has quite a stake in the artificial extension of childhood--especially within the church.  If young adults, or “teenagers,” remain intellectually as children due to poor training, then it is unwise to take a group of such “children,” which have foolishness bound up in their hearts, and consistently segregate these fools together away from the older, wiser people who may moderate their foolishness.

The conclusion cannot be drawn that they ought to be segmented and segregated from the church, and put under the care of a slightly older young adult.  It is an unfortunate fact that young adults have been subjugated to an extended infantalization; the solution is not to segregate all these misfortunates together, but to encourage them to walk with aged, wise men.

Cont'd.  [Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]

Rejecting Adolescence in the Church - Part 4

A Reasonable Response to an Unfounded Psychological Theory
by McKrunk

Part 4
[Parts 1, 2, 3]

Evaluating Youth Groups

As adolescence is an extra-Biblical, mythical phase of development, the church has two choices in responding to this phenomenon: 1) Reject it, or 2) Create an extra-Biblical, mythical ministry to validate and incorporate the psychological movement into the Church.  The most common response has been the latter, as most mainstream evangelical churches include an active youth group headed by a youth pastor, though there is Scriptural precedent for neither.

With an acceptance of the sufficiency of Scripture, one can affirm that the church in no way needs to join in the modern psychological culture’s adherence to the category of the “teenager” in order to successfully undertake the ministry of the church and to minister to all the members thereof.  Indeed, it seems imperative that the church actively reject the invention of adolescence in order to effectively involve young adults in ministry.  With the cultural commands to “enjoy their youth,” and the expectations for them to be self-indulgent and care-free, they do not become happy, content, or joyful.

Rather, suicide rates are highest amongst teenagers.  They wander from indulgence to indulgence hunched over, angst-ridden, moody, and rebellious; having so little confidence they can often barely carry out meaningful conversations with even their peers, and virtually incapable of having any substantive relationship with anyone outside their immediate peer group.  This is not due to their age, nor to their biology, but to the contradiction in which they are trapped as being physically and mentally adults who are forced by the world and the church into a box of juvenility constructed out of a false paradigm of the teenager.

The label of teenager, and all the connotations and expectations that come with it, provokes young adults to evil.  It is apparently frustrating for people with the bodies and intellects of adults to be treated as though they are still children, and that frustration manifests itself in the “typical teenage” behavior that we witness and expect in our culture.  The label of “teenager” communicates to a young adult that they are at an age of life where they ought to act with the ill behavior which so-called teenagers supposedly have no choice but to act.

An adult is expected to behave well, and if they do not, they are shamed, restrained, or even punished through various means.  Likewise, children are either expected to behave themselves, or to be disciplined, restrained, and re-trained.  However, when it comes to the extra-Biblical category of the teenager, the general expectation is for the person to behave like an incoherent dolt who cannot dress himself respectably, and who can barely control his urges, thoughts, and actions.  Teenagers are expected to behave in a way that is beneath dignity, restraint, and in a way that constantly exhibits self-indulgence.  Never does Scripture reference any category of believer who is expected to behave in such a manner.

If adolescence were a biological fact, then one would expect for this serious problem to be addressed directly in Scripture by our Creator.  It is not.  If there truly was something inherent about the age of adolescents that made them intrinsically rebellious, then there would be evidence of this throughout all times and cultures.  As it is our invention of the category of “teenager,” along with the expectations we attach to the label that causes the rebelliousness, we consistently see in history and other cultures that people between the ages of thirteen and twenty years do not carry themselves about as miscreants.  The history found in Scripture certainly attests to this fact.  The ages of some of the greatest people in Scripture prove that teenagers are perfectly capable of behaving with all dignity.  Mary was a teenager when she gave birth to Jesus.  David was a teenager when he was anointed king of Israel.  Josiah was a teenager as he held Israel to the standards of the law.

In most civilized cultures not infected with the idea of adolescence, we witness the young men and women effectively taking on adult responsibilities without complaint during their teen years.  Obviously, the human race is neither evolving nor devolving, so what humans of a certain age were once capable of, they are capable of still.

Cont'd.  [Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]

Rejecting Adolescence in the Church - Part 3

A Reasonable Response to an Unfounded Psychological Theory
by McKrunk

Part 3
[Parts 1, 2]

Biblical Stages of Development

Most importantly, the Bible contradicts the idea of adolescence.  As previously established, the very concept of there being a category of people called “teenagers” or “adolescents” does not come from the Bible, but from secular culture and psychology.  The Bible indicates three essential stages of development that are often referenced:

1. Childhood:
• Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  -Proverbs 22:6
• Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children.  -Psalm 148:12
• Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  -Ephesians 6:1

2. Young Men and Women:
• Both young men and maidens; old men and children.  -Psalm 148:12
• The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.  -Job 29:8
• The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.  -Proverbs 20:29
• Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.  -Titus 2:6

3. Old Men and Women:
• The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.  -Job 29:8
• Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children.  -Psalm 148:12
• The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.  -Proverbs 20:29
• Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren.  -1 Timothy 5:1
• That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  -Titus 2:2
• The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  -Titus 2:3-5
Not only does the Bible reference these three essential stages in life, it also details the transition from childhood to adulthood.  “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)  Paul indicates a very simple and direct understanding of going from childhood to manhood; there was no extended adolescence or juvenility, rather he did away with childish things.

A Brief History of Youth Groups

It is often said that the difference between the church and the culture “is ten years.”  This is the case in the disintegration of young adults from the church.  Not long after young adults were ejected from productive work and segregated into government schools, churches increasingly decided that they must follow suit and segregate young adults into social clubs and organizations.  Today, the line of isolation between the young adults and the rest of the adults within a church is appalling.

“Youth groups” and “youth ministries” have become such unquestioned and widely accepted practices in the church, one might assume they have always been a centerpiece of the formal church experience.  Nothing could be more distant from the truth.  Indeed, most scholars trace the modern youth group ministry back to two ministers in the late nineteenth century: Theodore Cuyler and Francis E. Clark (Garland, 1991).

Cuyler made the first strides toward what we now know as “youth ministry” when he created a ministry near the gang-ridden area of Five Points, New York City, in the 1850s.  Cuyler’s group focused largely on prayer, and held philosophies birthed from nineteenth century Revivalism.  Cuyler’s mission identified the “youth” which he sought to reach as individuals between the ages of fifteen and forty (Senter & Horace, 2001).  Cuyler would eventually go on to found the “Young People’s Association,” which is considered by many to be the first youth group, though it should be noted that the term “youth,” in the context of this group, applied to a more Biblical category of life stage.

Influenced by Cuyler, Francis E. Clark created a “Society of Christian Endeavor” in the 1880’s.  Clark combined many of Cuyler’s ideas with the popular “pledge” ethos that was present in many temperance societies of the time (ibid).  Also rooted in the Revivalist spirit, Clark bemoaned the enthusiasm of initial conversion followed by the lack of true discipleship.

While the youth group movement briefly stalled between 1914 and 1930 (Garland & Fortosis, 1991), it regained steam in the post-World War II climate.  This increased interest in youth ministry corresponds directly with the period in which “adolescents” were fully formed into a market group (Savage, 2007, xv-xx).  Steadily, youth groups gained momentum as voluntary church and para-church organizations.  Beginning in the late 1940s, with widespread acceptance by the 1960s, churches began including the position of youth minister as part of their paid staff.  During the 1960s, many seminaries and Bible colleges began offering degree programs in youth ministry (Garland & Fortosis, 1991).

Cont'd.  [Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]

Rejecting Adolescence in the Church - Part 2

A Reasonable Response to an Unfounded Psychological Theory
by McKrunk

Part 2
[Part 1]

A Reasonable Response

Having established the idea of the adolescent as lacking both historical lineage and universal acceptance, one can open up one’s mind to examine the validity of this category remaining part of our society.

Is it possible that the “adolescent” has always existed in history, and exists today in pre-industrialized people groups, but many have simply failed to label or recognize the existence of this stage of human development?  Examining the lives and accomplishments of teenagers in both historic and contemporary pre-industrial civilizations leads us to a logical conclusion.

Robert Epstein has completed an excellent work on this very question, gathering much of the extraneous research of various anthropologists and historians into his monumental opus, The Case Against Adolescence, wherein Epstein makes a thorough case that the stage of adolescence and the behavioral phenomena associated therewith are unique to post-nineteenth century industrialized nations (Epstein, 2007).  A multitude of philological and historical studies confirm this through etymology, nomenclature, and common use of words related to any stage of development peculiar to the teenage years; historical vocational records of the ages at which people began participating in societies as a active wage earners; and birth records, indicating that shortly after the onset of puberty men and women formed independent and functioning families.

In his article “The Myth of the Teen Brain,” Epstein references two anthropological studies which indicate that contemporary pre-industrialized cultures neither share the belief in adolescence as a developmental stage, nor share the problems associated with adolescence in industrialized Western countries.  He points out that, as these psychological ideas are introduced into societies in which they did not previously appear, the adolescent stage, with all of its behavioral trappings, suddenly becomes a reality.

Alice Schlegel of the University of Arizona and Herbert Barry III. . . Reviewed research on teens in 186 pre-industrialized societies.  Among the important conclusions they drew about theses societies: about 60 percent had no word for “adolescence,” teens spent almost all their time with adults, teens showed almost no signs of psychopathology, and antisocial behavior in young males was completely absent in more than half these cultures and extremely mild in cultures in which it did occur.  Even more significant, a series of long-term studies set in motion in the 1980s by anthropologists Beatrice Whiting and John Whiting of Harvard University suggests that teen trouble begins to appear in other cultures soon after the introduction of . . . Western-style schooling, television programs and movies.  Delinquency was not an issue among the Inuit people. . . Until TV arrived in 1980.  By 1988 the Inuit had created their first permanent police station (Epstein, June 2007).

The fact that the phenomenon of adolescent behavior is so unique to industrialized societies should settle the question.  However, many people believe that recent research into the biology of the brain indicates a fundamental difference in the brains of teenagers that warrants the belief in adolescence as a developmental stage.  However, these studies consistently make cum hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacies (the fallacy that A corresponds with B, therefore A causes B).  Demonstrating a correlation between a biological phenomenon in the brain that corresponds with a behavior set, does not prove causation.  Societal pressures and personal beliefs have consistently been demonstrated to be capable of causing said biological phenomena, demonstrating a strong possibility that behavioral phenomena cause the biological phenomena in a healthy brain.

Furthermore, studies that demonstrate developmental activity in the brains of adolescents to conclude the reality of “adolescence” neglect the facts concerning the continual presence of the biological phenomena throughout adulthood (ibid).

The Cultural Effects of Belief in Adolescence

Ideas do not exist on islands unto themselves.  Ideas which are brought to fruition have both consequence and effect.  If we are to answer the question of whether or not the concept of adolescence is beneficial to our culture, we need to understand the consequence that this belief has had on young adults.  As outlined in the above sections, it is a historically provable fact that the introduction of the belief in adolescence as a life stage has drastic and negative effects on societies.

Newt Gingrich, in his article “Let’s Scrap Adolescence and Grow Up,” gives specific quantification to some of the effects of adolescence:
It’s time to declare the end of adolescence.  As a social institution it’s been a failure.  The proof is all around us: 19% of eighth graders, 36% of tenth graders, and 47% of twelfth graders say they have used illegal drugs according to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan.  One of every four girls has a sexually transmitted disease, suggests a recent study for the Centers for Disease Control.  A methamphetamine epidemic among the young is destroying lives, families and communities.  And American students are learning at a frighteningly slower rate than Chinese and Indian students.  The solution is dramatic and unavoidable; we have to end adolescence as a social experiment.  We tried it, it failed.  It’s time to move on.  Returning to an earlier more successful model of children rapidly assuming the roles and responsibilities of adults would yield enormous benefit to society (Gingrich, 2008).
David F. White writes in his article “Youth Ministry in Modern America: 1930 to the Present” that:
Since the early 1970s the real earning power has diminished by approximately 30 percent, while requirements for securing middle-class employment have escalated, leaving the young less free to explore vocation and make their mark on history. . . The church has relegated the youth to the periphery of congregational ministry. . . There have been times when the contradictions of adolescence were not felt so starkly as today.  In preindustrial American villages, youth worked alongside adults, exploring adult roles, values and norms, and making their mark in the world in valued social roles (White, 2002).
In “Reconceiving Youth Ministry,” Richter, Magnuson and Baizerman point out the various scripts by which young adults are imprisoned due to the myth of adolescence.  Rather than being free to be humans created in the image of GOD, they are merely consumers that fit a market image of the “teen.”  While there is still the possibility of transcendence, this is very difficult when there is no guidance or encouragement in a young person’s life to help them so much as question the paradigm of adolescence (Richter et al., 1998).

Through a combination of social scripts and restrictive laws, childhood is artificially extended further into adulthood with each passing generation’s unquestioning acceptance of the adolescent narrative.  While the first child labor laws were created to protect very young children from dangerous work, with each new law passed the motivations for the laws became confused; mixed with socialist dogma, union pressures, and profiteering of powerful industrialists.

As these laws moved from protecting children to protecting increasingly older people, those young adults aged thirteen to twenty-one years found themselves “regulated” out of the adult world.  As this regulating of childhood into adulthood took place in government, naturally there needed to be a place where the new “adolescent” could be placated -enter compulsory government education.

This segregation of young adults has also caused an increasingly rapid change in values, mores, and traditions from year to year.  Even in the recent past, with generations such as the Romantics or the Moderns, many years, births, and deaths had to pass before a new generation could be defined.  Now, new generations are defined in increasingly shorter increments of time.

It’s interesting that many researchers group the "Traditionals" as those born 19011942-5.  A huge 45 year group.  Why did they last so long?  Were the Traditionals in many ways living off of the bank deposit of values of their parents and grandparents before them?  Though not perfect by any stretch of imagination, I think that group known as "Traditionals" were given the last widespread model of at least a semi-biblical parental discipleship.  By contrast, Baby Boomers run from 1945-1960, only 15 years.  Gen X'ers 1961-1981, Millenials 1982-2002 and the current "Z" Generation 2003 till who knows when.  I can't help but see this largely as a function of age segregation in education, church life, social life, etc (Vestal).
The isolation of youth from elders causes them to, with increasing rapidity, form their own beliefs and traditions based within a very narrow peer group with little input from outsiders.

With every passing generation since the psychological invention of adolescence, young adults are struggling with increasing length to put childish ways behind them.  They remain in or return to their parents’ homes and fail to secure steady employment due to their own irresponsibility.  Instead of recognizing the false scripts and infantilizing laws of the myth of adolescence, older adults are seeking to go further in the wrong direction.  Some legislators are now pressing for compulsory education laws to extend into the ages of the twenties.  The first year of college is a year of being subjected to endless programs, systems, and schedules that are designed to hold the students’ hands as they remain dependent on others.  More laws are constantly being passed to regulate both the decisions and choices of young adults, and the ability of parents to decide or recognize when their children have become adults.  Initially, there were no laws restricting the age of a driver.  Then laws were passed not based on competency, but age.  Those age limits were recently raised from sixteen years to eighteen years in many municipalities.  While a sixteen year old once had the freedom of an adult to drive, now they have curfews placed on their driving and governmental restrictions on with whom they may drive.  As young adults consistently live out the scripts of adolescence, more laws are required to restrict their adolescent behavior; further infantilizing them and worsening their juvenility.

Cont'd.  [Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]

Rejecting Adolescence in the Church - Part 1

A Reasonable Response to an Unfounded Psychological Theory
By McKrunk

Part 1

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” -1 Corinthians 13:11

“The solution is dramatic and unavoidable; we have to end adolescence as a social experiment.  We tried it, it failed.  It’s time to move on.  Returning to an earlier, more successful model of children rapidly assuming the roles and responsibilities of adults would yield enormous benefit to society.”  (Gingrich, 2008) -former Congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich


The Pharisees of Jesus’ time had many traditions which had gradually crept into their faith and practices through many generations.  The slow and casual manner in which these traditions crept gave them no pause to think and reconsider from where these practices had originated.  Gradually, they had arrived at a place in which they would deny the word of GOD for the sake of their traditions.  Jesus condemned them without mincing words:

And He said to them, "Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honoureth me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.
Howbeit in vain do they worship me,
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.'

For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men." Mark 7:6-8
It is easy to look back on the Pharisees and think that we would not, or have not acted so foolishly as to reject the word of GOD for the sake of tradition.  Yet the same evangelicals who pass judgment on the Pharisees commit those same crimes.  It is easy to identify the ridiculousness of the Pharisees’ traditions because we did not take the small, slow, and gradual steps with them in their traditions.

Likewise, future generations may look back at this generation and condemn it for the way it has rejected the word of GOD for the sake of their traditions concerning youth ministry.

A Brief History of the “Typical Teenager” Myth

Slightly preceding the invention of the youth group was the rise of a curious invention in secular culture of the “adolescent,” also known as the “teenager.”  Few people today question these categories or terms as tangible, biological realities; therefore many may be surprised to learn that the concept of adolescence is very new in human history, and still to this day is only commonly accepted in Westernized and industrialized nations.

The myriad of contributing factors are beyond the scope of this paper, though we can at least confirm that juvenile delinquency is not an age old problem, rather a problem created by rapid and drastic changes in a particular society at a certain time.  The fact should be understood that those initial behavior problems were unique to the larger cities, further demonstrating that teenage misbehavior is the result of a social construct, not a biological reality.

Whenever tumultuous change happens, new problems arise that have to be understood and dealt with.  Unfortunately, sometimes a false understanding of an issue feeds the problem rather than solves it.  As early Americans living in cities witnessed the turmoil of young adults, and tried to understand the phenomenon of youthful wickedness, they created the now-accepted modern concept of the “adolescent.”

Almost universally credited with inventing the concept of adolescence is G. Stanley Hall, whose landmark book Adolescence set forth the fundamental theories of “typical teenage” behavior that still survive today.  Hall’s theories were fundamentally based upon the hypothesis of evolutionary recapitulation, which has since been thoroughly discredited even by secular science.  According to recapitulation, a person mimics each of the historical evolutionary stages during his physical development: He begins as a single-cell life, develops into an amphibian, etc.  Robert Epstein points out in his article “The Myth of the Teen Brain” that:

To Hall, adolescence was the necessary and inevitable reenactment of a ‘savage pigmoid’ stage of human evolution.  By the 1930’s recapitulation theory was completely discredited in biology, but some psychologists and the general public never got the message.  Many still believe, consistent with Hall’s assertion, that teen turmoil is an inevitable part of human development.  (Epstein, 2007)
While it would be simple to state that the label of “adolescence” preceded and caused all juvenile delinquency, the truth is slightly more complex.  Signs of a “youth problem” started appearing in the latter half of the eighteenth century, and Western governments began to create laws directly addressing juvenile delinquency.  However, the phenomenon of juvenile delinquency was noticeably prevalent in large cities within countries undergoing industrialization, and the misbehavior largely corresponds with the creation of laws that restricted older youths from participating in adult life.

Reinforced by secular psychology, the idea of the adolescent who is predestined to inner turmoil, angst, rebellion, self-centeredness, and criminal behavior permeated the public consciousness.  As the years passed, compulsory education helped to codify these beliefs into law.  By the end of World War II, market forces colluded in the invention of the adolescent in order to fully segment young adults into a class of consumers independent of adulthood.  (Savage, 2007. xv-xx)

In his review of Youth Ministry in Modern America: 1930 to the Present, David F. White points to some of the historical forces that helped create the identity of the adolescent:

The fear of destitution experienced during the Depression and the desire for greater security nudged the middle class into dependence on large corporations, a shift away from their former independent agricultural life and early entrepreneurial capitalism.  The middle class had sufficient resources to forgo the work of young people long enough to allow them to attend high school — and used high school as a means of segregating their young from working-class youth.  The middle class sought to protect its young people from harsh industrial work, but it also removed them from significant social roles.  It sought for its children professional employment demanding extensive education — thus creating a context for what is now considered normal parent-youth conflict. . . Few of the congregations that try to address the ever-shifting question of how to engage youth in ministry have a deep understanding of the history of adolescence.  (White, 2002. 55-56)
So here we find ourselves today, in a small segment of the world, in the smallest slice of time in the human experience, unquestionably committed to the idea of the predestined predisposition of teenagers to mediocrity, laziness, irresponsibility, criminal behavior, low-riding jeans and revealing blouses.

Cont'd.  [Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]