According to a lengthy essay by Rebecca Drescher, Gen X, Gadgets and God, published in Religious Dispatches, Gen Xers aren’t losing religion, they’re rebuilding it via engagement that is both digital and mobile. This is a terrific piece of writing for anyone involved in church marketing or church growth research.
Drescher is the first person I’ve come across who has reconciled (or explained) Generation X’s overall distrust of religious institutions in light of a new study by Pew (I wrote about this a few weeks ago) that indicates Xers are actually more loyal to religion. Turns out, if you grew up with religion, you’re less likely to completely disengage from it than Baby Boomers and Millennials (Gen Yers) who grew up with it. I like Drescher’s use of the mixtape metaphor and the term “Biblical Mash-up.” Here is my favorite line in the essay:
“Given this, the quest for institutional religious relevance seems to lie in developing ways—technologically-based and otherwise—of participating with believers and seekers in the redistribution of spiritual authority and associated reinstitutionalizing of religious practice rather than in integrating digital gimmicks into lingering religious structures.”