Kids in Japan and other countries
As we watch and pray about the natural and nuclear disaster in Japan this week, this summary of research on Youth, Religion and Globalization seems to hit home. Funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, researchers from 8 different countries (the United States, Japan, Germany, Ghana, Russia/Ukraine, India, Argentina & Paraguay) explored the effects of globalization on teenagers’ experience of religious faith.
As you might imagine, this summary posted by the Center for Youth Ministry Training highlights some of the interesting unique aspects of faith development in these countries. Yet there are some interesting themes that cut across the various countries, including cross-generational discontinuity and the love/hate relationship with the pervasiveness of American culture around the world.
Of the common themes, I was especially struck by how researchers noticed the theme of both hope and despair. As you talk with teenagers this week in light of what is happening in Japan, you might want to ask them:
1. How would you feel if you were a teenager living in Japan right now?
2. What would give you hope?
3. What would fill you with despair?
4. What would you want to say to someone your age living in Japan?
5. What ideas do you have for how we can show folks in Japan that we care?
As the omnipresent news reminds us of how events in Japan affect us all, this research is timely in reminding us of our common experiences around the world.
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