One of the things I am increasingly convinced of is the fact that many, many American young people are actually quite concerned with matters of spirituality and religious life. The much-discussed “rise of the nones” is less about the rejection of theism or spiritual practices and more about the rejection of organized religion. In my own life, I’ve been surprised by how interested many non-Christian friends actually are in these matters and how willing they are to discuss with me once we get past debates about marriage and abortion, both of which elicit pavlovian responses from all the parties involved. Songs like the above, by a musician named Dessa who is quite popular in the Twin Cities, further convince me of this point.
The challenge before us, I think, is similar to the challenge before Vanauken when he describes his conversion in A Severe Mercy: There is a very real sense in which he did not know how to believe. There were other issues too, but the baseline issue is that even if he did become convinced of all the dogma, he did not know existentially how to cross over to Christianity. Thus the need is to offer not only a compelling theological witness which helps people understand the content of belief, but also to present a picture of the Christian faith that can seem plausible to people who already acknowledge its desirability.