I just got an email from the Wisconsin Council of Churches about their big annual meeting on Washington Island, and in the email – in the description of one of the sessions at the summer gathering – is all you want to know about why young people, and why more and more older people like myself, are turned off by institutional religion. Some of the sessions at this meeting are designed to discover why young people don’t want anything to do with the Church. They have dubbed the younger generation the “OMG Generation.” In their explanation of the meaning of OMG lies the problem: They say it means “Oh my gosh,” when in fact it means, “Oh My God.” Even 49 year old me knows that.
You see, young people are turned off by the institutional Church because the Church can’t handle the truth, and so they lie in an attempt to be perceived as in touch with young people. The very Church that claims to speak for God apparently can’t handle saying God’s name for fear of offending some right-wing nut job who doesn’t understand that the command against taking God’s name in vain has to do with oaths – like the ones we make in court rooms all the time in the west. Even if it were a prohibition against profanity, I would need a lot of help in seeing how the expression, “Oh my God” is profane. If you’re going to try to convince me you have never said it, then I guess you are admitting you have never had an orgasm – and you have my sympathy. All that notwithstanding, I find it more than a little sad that the very people who are rejecting institutional religion feel much more comfortable calling on God than the institution itself does – or maybe they have found a new God whose name is gosh?