We writers try to find ways to remind ourselves that what we are writing really matters. One way I do this is to remember who I’m writing for.
Some of you know by now that Grace Sticks is a book for restless souls- all of us religious misfits disillusioned by the church with one foot in and one foot out, to be sure, but also the many so-called “Nones” (all those folks who put “None” next to religious affiliation in any demographic survey).
And, it turns out that these Nones matter with the kind of force that can influence a presidential election, this, according to the latest findings of the Public Religion Research Service. (Special thanks to Ed Brayton and his “Dispatches from the Culture Wars” here.)
Most strikingly, Nones are not only growing rapidly, but growing most rapidly among my generation and younger. Mark Silk discusses these numbers as they contrast with electoral representation by self-identified evangelicals, in a post titled “Why Romney’s religious coalition should terrify the GOP.”: “What’s most striking is how evangelicals and Nones change places through the four age cohorts. From old to young, the evangelicals go 30-25-18-9, while the Nones go 9-14-19-32. Romney’s coalition was composed of 37 percent evangelicals and eight percent Nones. Obama’s coalition had 9 percent evangelicals and 23 percent Nones.”
All of this is to say…restless souls and their pursuit of meaning, truth and life matter a whole lot to me. They matter not just because I, as an evangelical also count myself among them, but because what they think is already changing history, and will for years to come.
As a mostly younger, rapidly growing demographic, the Nones will be around for years to come; so, it would behoove the church- and maybe most especially evangelicals- to find ways to be in conversation with them…hence, Grace Sticks.