Kanye West recently announced that he was running for president and was promptly endorsed by Elon Musk. Welcome to the year that is 2020. In his wildly entertaining and slightly bizarre interview shortly after his initial declaration, Kanye made a statement that is worth zeroing in on. No, I’m not talking about the fact that when asked what party he would be running for he said “Birthday Party” or his campaign promise that everyone would get 40 acres and a mule. I’m talking about his stance on the mark of the beast. When asked about a COVID vaccine Kanye said:
Perhaps you’ve seen it on Facebook. Perhaps you’ve heard it on the blogosphere. People are getting antsy under quarantine, no surprise there. Our worst fears about the Coronavirus have not been realized, praise the Lord there! But all of this raises several difficult questions. How long can they do this? How long can governors keep our economy shut down? How long can churches legitimately be told they can’t meet in person? How do we respond to violations of the constitution? And most importantly how do we as Christians think about being Americans?
It seemed like such an odd detail. In a list praising Abraham for being willing to sacrifice his son, Moses for giving up a life of luxurious living, and Noah for building a boat and saving all of humanity, the statement about Jacob really stood out to me. “By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff” (Hebrews 11:21). I was preaching through Hebrews 11 when I first paid attention to that verse and was confused by the statement. What in the world did leaning on a staff have to do with faith?
When I was in college and grad school, people would often ask what I wanted to do with my Bible degree. At the time, I would tell them, “Youth pastor.” They would normally then ask, “Interesting. So why do you think we’re losing the next generation?” It’s a common question—one that I’ve given a fair amount of thought to. It’s a personal question—I have names and faces of people who grew up in the same Christian environment I did who have taken very different paths. And it’s a critical question: Why are we losing the future of Christianity?
In all my time pondering this question, I have come up with what, in my mind, are two primary reasons we are losing the next generation. There are no doubt other factors, and I might be overstating my case, but I want to take a minute and share with you why I think I see why my friends leaving Christianity.
“Oh boy, they’re at it again!” That was the reaction I saw all over social media when a radio station decided to stop playing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” for fear that it encouraged date rape. The ensuing discussion was interesting. Should the song be banned? Does it encourage abuse? Is this another example of #MeToo going overboard? Or, is this our demons finally catching up with us? Are we being oversensitive? Or has reckoning day finally come?
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