When I arrive at Mass with my wife and 7-month-old son, there’s something that keeps circling my thoughts when I look at the pews surrounding us. It’s not the age of the wood, the wear and tear of the Sunday Missals nor the noise of the A/C unit that is barely functioning. No, there is something much less visible.
I have friends, colleagues, classmates, and acquaintances who call themselves Catholic and yet I hardly see any of them at the end of the week. While I could easily make this into a list of fundamental tasks that they are failing to do, I more so want to unpack the culture that has permitted this type of behavior to endure. How could the Catholic Church, which has such rich history filled with the promise of eternal salvation be forgone for frivolities of our age? Why do we, specifically Millennials, just not care?
They do care, and they crave what the Church has. They just don’t know it.
Most are now familiar with Dr. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, author, a professor of psychology and much more. In many of his speeches and his latest book, Twelve Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, he talks about taking responsibility, seeking truth, and finding purpose in life. While the advice and speeches he gives are mainly for practical purposes, Dr. Peterson has an extensive understanding of Theology and Biblical interpretations (many of which can be found online on his Youtube channel). The intriguing part, of his relatively new stardom, is his viewership metrics. Per his own words, “More than 90% of people who watch my videos on Youtube are men. Now, that’s weird because about 80% of Psychology students are women”. Why? Well as a man who is part of that demographic, the desire to better myself, take up my cross and follow Christ are the main driving forces behind my every decision. His message is attractive because it permits people to follow Christian standards of what a man should be, without having to label themselves as Christian.
He’s got a challenging message and he’s not afraid to speak it. And the young men are responding to the challenge. But, is the challenge of Christ not much greater, more fulfilling, and the deeper need in the heart of man? The Church has what men need. We just need to hear it.
It may seem like we’re the lazy generation who just needs a good pat on the head and a participation medal, this is far from the truth. We seek strong role models that speak with conviction and profess the faith in the truest forms of masculinity and femininity. Unfortunately, I’m seeing an absence of this on Sundays and I see my friends, colleagues, classmates, and acquaintances searching for it in worldly and secular affairs.
We want to be challenged. We want to know our purpose. We need direction. We’re looking for it.