I spent this morning with the congregation at the Chapel at RAF Leuchars. Children everywhere. It was great.
So I came home and plunged into ‘Rural Children, Rural Church’. Before I had left the introduction, I had fallen over this passage:
‘The real battle for children being part of the church, however, is not about finding workers to lead children’s groups or establishing more accessible worship. It is about changing the hearts and minds of long-term Christians who wish to maintain the present traditions to the point that they lose sight of the Church’s mission among the youngest and most vulnerable generation.’
‘among the youngest and most vulnerable generation’
I don’t think this quote implies that children are more vulnerable than they used to be, just that they are the most vulnerable generation, which in general they are. The one bit of a generation more vulnerable is probably the elderly in care. |The elderly in care get out less often than children, so abuse etc won’t be picked up at outwith the home as it may be for children.
Yes – strange that. I hadn’t asked myself the question as to what ‘vulnerable’ means in this context. And it doesn’t seem to me to mean anything very much. On the more general issue, it seems to be that the point is being over-made. Yes we do need to rekindle in some adults the aspiration to see children in our churches and encourage them to address the changes which will have to be addressed if that is to happen. But we also need people and skills for work with children.
Without wishing to diminish the idea that long-term Christians need to take a good look at their traditions in the light of mission activity amongst young people, something about that quote does bother me.
Why do people who write about youth work in religious circles always paint the current generation as the most vulnerable? It does not seem obvious to me at all that children are more vulnerable now than they have been in the past. I’ve heard the same claim made over many years and it rings less true as time goes by.
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