By Kate Long, Christ Church Macon
Language is a precious tool humans engage to communicate with one another, but until terminology is translated and defined, voices are silenced. This can be especially prevalent in our church, for example who are “young adults” and how are they different than “youth".
Meetings and panels this week continued to struggle with these terms. It would appear to be common sense to decipher them and in fact they look almost interchangeable, “young adult” and “youth". Until a clear vision is adopted by our dioceses, voices get muddled together. Even bishops I meet refer to me, a college student, as a youth, or a kid. I certainly do not feel like either of those terms fits me though.
Young adults would seem to be identified as someone who is transitioning from living with parents full time and attending high school to someone following a career track and moving to live on their own. The age range and spirituality levels for this transition varies so much therefore creative programs do not always prescribe a solution for all young adults; people in their 20's and 30's have an increasingly likely chance of having very different life experiences: marriage, ordination, work, college, children, mental illness, sexual assault, and addiction.
Within this group we lack an inclusive language of how to identify each other because as we have found it is important for people to find a relatable soul so they can grow together, but on the flip side it is important for people to identify when they are different so that can collaborate together because then both groups benefits from respective assets brought to the Lord’s table.
We experience dichotomies a lot with adults: thinkers vs feelers, cradle Episcopalians vs converts in youth and young adulthood, camp/youth event goers vs. Sunday parish attendees. Not everyone falls strictly in one category. It is not black or white. We must learn to find the gray area to build a bridge between the groups. Everyone has their own needs and as beloved community of Christ we are responsible to feed everyone's souls.