Where are the young people? That’s the question we’ve been asking at the Center for Interfaith Cooperation recently. In its first five years, the Center has done a great job building relationships with established religious, community, and business leaders in central Indiana. With that accomplished, the next goal is much more difficult. We need to get the people of my generation interested and involved in the work we’re doing.
One of the things I’ve noticed about millenials is that by and large they’re more likely than any other generation to identify as spiritual but not religious. In fact many are wary of, if not hostile towards, organized religion. So how do we reach them to get them involved in interfaith work? One method that has been working for the Center already is service. The Center runs the Immigrant and Refugee Service Corps, which brings AmeriCorps volunteers to serve vulnerable populations in our community, much of which is done by faith groups.
People of my generation have an acute sense of what is wrong in the world and a desire to fix it. We can see that it isn’t right for anyone to go hungry, to live without a home, to die because they can’t afford insulin. What I think many young people don’t realize is that there are many religious groups who want to solve those same problems, and they could accomplish so much more by bringing their energy together with the resources that established religious groups can offer.
Tonight we’re screening a film at Butler University. Most of the audience will probably be students there to get extra credit. I did that plenty when I was in school. Hopefully we can show them what we’re about and get them interested in interfaith work, as long as we have a captive audience.