Colleges and universities have opened their doors to the current academic year and a part of that annual ritual is consulting the Beloit College Mindset List for the entering freshman, the class of 2018.  Essentially, the Mindset List shows how incoming freshman see their world.  It’s kind of “what the world is now or is no longer.”  Sometimes it can be funny, sometimes poignant, sometimes totally innocuous.  My favorites from this year’s list . . .

  • The “pound” sign (#) on a phone or keyboard has always been “hashtag” for them
  • Hong Kong has always been a part of China

    College students ready for the new semester. Photo used with permission from
    College students ready for the new semester. Photo used with permission from
  • They have never had to hide their dirty magazines under the bed thanks to digital technology.
  • Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S.
  • “Good feedback” means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.
  • One of those poignant observations . . . this class was the Kindergarten class of 2001.  They report being upset by the repeated images of the planes blasting into the World Trade Center.

Being one of those people who checks out the list every fall, it struck me that the church, faith, religion, GOD – these things don’t make the list.  The first list published in 1998 for the class of 2002 noted that there had only been one pope in their lifetime.  Mention of the pope has been the only exception and has nothing to do with spirituality.  It is as if spiritual things are inconsequential.

You have probably read or heard about the “Nones,” people who simply have no spiritual moorings.  They are not atheists or anti-God.  God simply isn’t a part of their “mindset.”  One-third of adults under 30 are “Nones” with no religious affiliation.  At least a third of the Class of 2018 will fall into this “None” category.

Which then leads me to ask why we Christians haven’t made more of an impression on the class of 2018.  Why, on this year’s list, does the Daily Show get kudos as “the only news program that really ‘gets it right?’”  Where on the list is the impact of being touched with the message of God’s unconditional grace, mercy, forgiveness and love?  Who or what is failing to make an impact?

I don’t have a specific answer for this blog.  But I’ve often said we need to subscribe to the “Bonnie Raitt school of theology,” namely, “Let’s give ‘em something to talk about.”  I would make that something gracious, welcoming, hopeful, uplifting and encouraging.  Let’s be about Jesus. . . totally . . . unconditionally.

Then how awesome it would be to read  . . .

  • In the name of Jesus, revitalized churches across the land with a message of hope and healing for now and forever have always positively impacted the lives of the class of . . .