602 Comments

People just need hope, once this "revival" is done back to hopelessness. This is an short timed distraction. True lasting hope comes from finding one's true purpose.

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This is the eternal flame, the Ner Tamid.

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Several decades ago I attended a midweek worship service at the Brooklyn Tabernacle with a family friend, and the vibe as we entered the room was very similar to what is being described in this article and what is eloquently sounded in the accompanying podcast. Back in the 1740s, when the first Great Awakening happened in Connecticut (as described by Jonathan Edwards), what I'm calling a vibe was framed as "enthusiasm": a powerful, unstable, indisputable flow of collective feeling that feels to those within the charmed circle as though all fear, all withholding, has disappeared, leaving only the tenderest, most vulnerable sort of love. Actually, check that: in Edwards's time, the predicate to such enthusiasm, such mass conversion, was the harshest sort of jeremiadic warning: a ministerial thundering-down about how close the pits of hell were "at this very moment." God's wrath was right there. So, come to Jesus! Here, though, there was no jeremiad, merely an invitation to beloved community in Christ. And yet, if you listen closely, it's clear that hovering behind this contemporary scene of mass conversion IS some sort of terrible fear: fear of being cast out by the ravenous maw of the social media matrix; fear of meaninglessness and lovelessness; fear of being suddenly thrust into the scene of a mass shooting. In some sense no explicit jeremiad is needed because contemporary life, mediated through mass media and social media, has become a kind of incipient hell of its own. So it's not surprising that a specific set of young people, both religiously primed and impressionable, yearning for human connection and a love-blessed alternative to that contemporary mediated hell, just wants to come together, sing songs, sway, and feel the love. That's what's going on here, in my view. The feeling in the room is real--and communicable. Listening to Reingold's report on iPods as I jogged, I found my own eyes misting as the sonic landscape took me back to Jim Cymbala and his wife and the Brooklyn Tabernacle and its choir, the feeling of walking into a large shared space filled with people praying unabashedly in public, flowing freely in fellowship, nobody judging anybdy. NO JUDGING. That's key. Love accepts, it doesn't judge. Social media, and especially Twitter, judges incredibly harshly, hanging you out to dry precisely as Jonathan Edwards sought to in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Our contemporary hell is "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Social Media Flash-Mob." Those students in Kentucky yearned for more than that. I salute them for acting on their yearning, for remembering and acting on the deeper, older magic that lies in beloved community, beyond the icy, fear-based pleasures of scapegoating. They've got much to teach us.

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Feb 24, 2023·edited Feb 24, 2023

“I also think there’s something happening in the population of those of us who are grey…We really need to be blessing these people and holding the door open for them.”

I listened to the podcast interview of this story, and when I heard this older gentleman choke up when he said this, this 66-year old Christian woman also cried 😢. I’ve been a believer since my own unexpected “awakening” when I was 22, and here I am, talking about it to strangers 44 years later.

If this isn’t real, these kids will move on to the next social media driven guru. If it is real, then I suspect they’ll be writing about it 44 years from now.

I’m obviously hoping it’s real.

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I'm not religious at all, but the conviction and passion of these folks is very inspiring.

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Beautiful

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Bari, May the Lord bless you a bunch for putting this on without any criticism or bashing as we Christians are so used to receiving. That there was no agenda or coercion, but a spark started with college students at a mandatory chapel....makes this so validated. Yes, God is real...his Holy Spirit is real as I've experienced myself a couple times. It was so personalized after my prayers for help, that there is NO other possible explanation for an undeserving me. Olivia did a wonderful job and I hope she considers trying out church or synagog herself. We church goers are a flawed bunch.....but blessed in so many ways outsiders can't fathom. Join in.

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"hope extinguishes darkness".❤️

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Thank you for a simple, non-judgmental description of this event. This generation needs hope, and I pray some of them are finding that at Asbury. And God willing, this will not only change their lives for the better, but others will see that change and understand it.

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Excellent piece. Just what I'd expect from TFP. Well done.

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OK, RT. Congrats you've convinced me. Now you may turn your efforts to the other ~2.4 BILLION believers, about 31% of the world population.

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I was raised Catholic but I do not practice any organized religion. I consider myself AGNOSTIC because I'm not convinced there is a "god". I also believe religion can very much be like a cult. What I think is happening is a serious lack of human connection caused in large part on social media. People need human connections. In addition, I think social media often represents an unrealistic portrayal of life. It's not all ups and parties and successes and happiness. There are down moments and we don't always get what we want. Sometimes things don't go as planned. These young people don't have resilience. They seem to lack COPING skills. Let's face it I grew up with the VIETNAM war, the assassination of Kennedy and MLK. My grandparents grew up in the GREAT DEPRESSION. I did not grow up with computers or social media. If these young people are finding solace in prayer so be it. However I don't think it's necessarily the only answer.

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Jesus said, in the Book of Matthew 28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” What you are witnessing here are the burdened the heavy laden and they are bringing it to the cross. Jesus is healing their heavy hearts. It is a blessing to see coming forth through this generation. It truly had saddened me to watch on the sidelines of these kids rebuking God, proud of killing their babies and disfiguring their bodies. Satan has had a great time with them, now rebuke him and carry the cross. Time is short, Jesus i showing us something please pay attention. God doesnt do thing just cause, there is always a reason behind his actions.

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Unfortunately youth’s search for meaning is leading them into the trans and social justice cults. At least religion provides redemption, whereas the redemptive qualities of self mutilation are questionable at best. As is getting your professor fired for teaching white male stories.

Yet it seems possible that a fractured society is to blame-- divorce, living in isolation, parents too busy with work, smaller families, shrinking social capital. Expanding that at church is a positive so long as it’s not another is versus them scenario....

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The lack of connection has been to others. I believe I connect to my higher power through others. Carl Jung believed our connection to others is broken and that our job here is to re-establish it. Spinoza believed that everything is connected. So do I. Our modern world is full of things that break that connection. Social media, helpful in some ways is very harmful in others particularly among the young. Politics has become so toxic and tribal; it is nearly impossible to have a meaningful conversation with anyone who disagrees with you. Covid highlighted what happens when we are unable to connect physically with others. Hopefully the message spreads that we do not need drugs or likes to feel good. we are all children of the Universe.

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I stopped being a believer a few years ago. The decision sits well with me. But I did stop to reread this part: "I can see and feel the heaviness of the people around me,” says Miller, who grew up in Wilmore. “You just feel that heaviness. As a believer, I’ve gotten to experience the freedom of getting to live in that hope, and I think hope is something that extinguishes that fire of darkness.”

Is she suggesting that we may as well become believers and join the revival because you are least have hope and a level of freedom? It's a thought. But isn't having hope just another way to not live now? We're putting things off because of a promise of a mystical Garden of Babylon afterlife (that would be my fantasy)? Don't get me wrong, I love the idea. But I do not believe in fantasies that involve this level of supernatural. Not to mention handing over your life to this fantasy. My bullshit detector is on high elert. Why are we so different? Anyways... Just thoughts.

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Jo, it's real. I can attest. We believers are a flawed lot and each very undeserving of the gospel message. It's a free gift but we're called by Christ to seek and to knock. We have to be willing. Expect a very personalized and emotional answer if you are sincere. I hope you consider it. It's beyond worth it. Best.

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I appreciate your response but I just can't feel it. I'm ok with my atheism though.

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Being a believer helps you cope with the here and now. It sorts out truths from untruths, right from wrong, normal from crazy, in a world that is hellbent on normalizing crazy. This revival and the others going on are like resetting our hard drives to remove all the malware society has snuck on them. What is left is the pure love, forgiveness and redemption offered by Jesus. How restoring is that?!

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".. myths from untruths." How?

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But what a great read. I had no idea this was a thing.

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