In a recent sermon, Tim Lucas, pastor of one of the fastest growing upstart churches in the nation, bellowed out to the congregation of his Liquid Church, “Nones are done with the church!” Referring to the group of people who check off the box “None of the above” on religious affiliation surveys, Lucas insisted that their decision to opt-out of organized religion had nothing to do with a lack of spiritual hunger or desire for God in general, but frustration with the structure and specifics of the Christian religion.
Forty percent of millennials fall into the so-called “none” category, compared to only 17 percent of the baby boomer generation, and a recent article in the Wall Street Journal showed how this generation gap is thrown into sharp relief at Christmas when multiple generations in the same family celebrate the holidays together.
According to the article, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that about half of baby boomers attend religious services at least once a month, while 40 percent of millennials seldom or never attend. Slightly more than half (52%) of boomers consider Christmas a religious holiday, compared with only 32 percent of millennials. As a result, parents often feel rejected when their invitations to attend church on Christmas are turned down by their adult children, who in turn feel put upon and coerced when such expectations from parents seem to be expressed too pointedly.
Indeed, the article reported that many adult children dread a confrontation with their parents over the holidays about going to church services. One University of Oregon campus minister, Brandi Miller, often finds herself counseling students on this very issue. “There’s a perception that at the holidays everyone has to be happy, joyful, and thankful,” she said, “which makes things like doubt and politics feel very dissident.” Indeed, I regularly hear from parents at Saint Brendan who feel alienated by their adult children when it comes to practice of the Catholic religion.
In an age of skepticism about the Christian faith and widespread anger against the Church for its shortcomings and betrayals of trust, sifting through the actual facts of Christianity could bring a glimmer of hope. That’s why we’re beginning a brand, new message series today that we are calling, Common Sense. Over the next six weeks, we’ll explore some of the reasons why Christianity just makes sense. As we’ll point out, the substantive results of Jesus’ ministry and the legacy his teachings have left in the world speak volumes as reasons to trust and believe.
Join us in church live or online each Sunday for this series, as we reveal the reasons why Christianity actually is completely sensible.
—Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
 Clare Anberry, Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2019, A11.
Father Roger Gustafson