The Middle Years Ministry

Formerly "The JH Uth Guy", THE MIDDLE YEARS MINISTRY is a Site Dedicated to Providing Resources, Ideas, and Help to Pastors, Leader, Directors, Teachers, Mentors and Anyone Else Working in
Pivotal and Important 5th-9th Grade Years. The “Middle Years” are not children’s ministry, not high school ministry, and are more than just Middle School/Jr. High. It is a unique and specialized ministry, where the final lifelong faith decision are made.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

News U Can Use: "Adulthood passage rituals can create stronger faith"

"Life is a series of passages — from womb to a parent's arms, from childishness to childlikeness, from school to work, from independence to commitment, from life to death.

Historically, the Christian church has marked these events with rituals that turn these passages into significant events of faith formation, such as baptism, confirmation, marriage and funerals. More recently, it seems the church has lost the ability to bring meaning to the passage from adolescence to adulthood.

G. Stanley Hall, the pioneering psychologist and educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, identified adolescence as a time of "storm and stress" caused primarily by developmental physiology. He indicated the turbulent time in a young person's life lasted about two or three years.

In the following years, famed anthropologist Margaret Mead argued that the "storm and stress" of adolescence does not occur in cultures where there are identifiable transition events from childhood to adulthood. In other words, adolescence is as much, if not more, about culture as it is about biology.

As academic researchers from a variety of fields argued and postulated about adolescence through the 20th century, an interesting thing took place. Adolescence in the American experience began to lengthen. Secondary sexual characteristics began to occur at younger ages, while societal forces pushed adulthood to older ages.

For example, while the average age of puberty dropped from 14-15 to 11-12, the age when someone is considered an adult — as noted by cultural events, such as high school graduation, college graduation, drinking age and marriage — has increased. We are left with a murky adolescent limbo lasting up to 15 years, with no biological or cultural marker that clearly determines when one achieves adult standing.

For those concerned about Christian formation, the long transition of adolescence offers an intriguing opportunity to shape one's faith identity.... " 

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