Dear EAPE Supporter,
Recent studies made by the Pew Foundation indicate that religion in America is changing. What are most notable in those studies are the changes evident among young people. The research shows, first of all, that Christians under the age of 35 are more and more into becoming spiritual.
That means that they want to experience the presence of God in their lives, rather than just accept theological dogmas or orthodox belief systems. Present-day youth readily accept the doctrines of the Apostle's Creed and acknowledge the Bible to be written under the influence of the Holy Spirit, but more than anything they want to feel mysterious and awesome encounters with God in their worship and in their prayer life.
Secondly, the social issues that most deeply concern young people are changing. The Pew studies indicate that while they are still conservative on family issues, they have broadened their agendas to include the AIDS crisis in Africa, the environment, the war in Iraq and, most of all, the poor.
Fortunately, EAPE has been at the forefront of what is happening to young Christians. We have worked hard to mobilize their zeal through ministries that relate to their concerns. Our invitation to serve the poor through Mission Year and Urban Promise, along with our extensive work among the oppressed people of Haiti and Africa, challenge them in ways that fit their idealism. The emphasis we put on the experiential dimensions of what it means to be Christian anticipates their desire for a kind of worship that goes far beyond superficial singing that reduces Jesus to little more than a boyfriend in the sky.
A few months ago, we at EAPE brought together eighteen of America's most popular and effective Christian communicators for a three-day conference at a farm near Philadelphia. Together we discussed how these powerful speakers could work in harmony with each other in fostering this new spirituality in the youth culture. We explored ways to mobilize college students to live out their Christian commitments by creating a better world.
Most of all, we endeavored to crystallize the content of a genuine conversion to holistic Christian discipleship that combines evangelism and social justice.
These leaders, who I have taken to calling "The Red Letter Fellowship", are out there speaking at venues all across the country. Some are 'old heads' like me, but most are young and still developing. They are the ones who will be carrying out the mission of EAPE long after I'm gone.
Your support has gone a long way to help us develop these Red Letter spokespersons who, in turn, are effectively calling a new generation to live out a radical commitment to Christian causes. Thank you so much for your vision! Please, keep sending in your gifts so we can see it through!
P.S. My two newest books are especially relevant to all of this. Red Letter Christians (Regal Press) deals with the social issues that are hot these days, and The God of Intimacy and Action (Jossey-Bass), co-authored with Mary Darling, deals with the contemporary emphasis on spirituality. I'd love for you to read them.
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