Youth culture sees the Michael Phelps pot-smoking incident much differently than the adult world does. Three Billion, a blog about youth culture, says,
You’ve got to feel sorry for Michael Phelps. A lifetime of training, early mornings, injuries, pain, performing on a global stage to billions of people to ultimately become the worlds greatest Olympian. And then…he’s brought down to earth with a bump after pictures of him smoking a bong are circulated around the world.
That’s a big contrast to the Kellog’s company who terminated their agreement with Phelps this week, saying that his actions did not fit their corporate image. It’s also a different take than USA Swimming’s suspension that they handed Phelps.
The Three Billion piece explains it this way —
The great thing about being young is that you experiment, you try new things, you do things differently than your parents and teachers. This experimentation means that you sometimes walk with one foot in illegality (would it be as much fun if you weren’t?).
They key is that this doesn’t apply to a small section of the youth population, it applies to pretty-much all of them. Whether that be drugs, sex, climbing buildings, stealing stuff, driving too fast…we’ve all done it and they are certainly all doing it. Young people are not criminals, they are just young people. It’s the universal indiscretions of youth.
In order for those of us in church to even begin a conversation with the younger unchurched, we need to hear their rationale and consider it seriously. Ed Stetzer’s new book, Lost and Found, is the best resource I’ve seen addressing the issue of 18-29 year olds who are unchurched.
I expressed my views on this subject here earlier this week. I wanted you to get the view from the other side, too. What challenges does the prevailing youth culture present to the traditional church today? How do we deal with that point of view that says, “It’s the universal indiscretions of youth?”