Caged People – Part 1

Photo by David Tapia

Hello dear reader. I am excited with this posting because it is my first collaborated article with other bloggers. The idea to collaborate came after a tweet by Denzel on what he would say if asked to contribute on why the youth are choosing to leave church. I found the tweet to be interesting because I had just been thinking about people who grow up in strict and controlled religious environments, and how such an upbringing affects them later in life.

The following paragraphs are thoughts collaborated by The Black print, Child Of The World, The Baobab, and myself.

Growing up in a strict and controlled religious environment, you are told to only play and associate with people of the same faith because they are the only ones who are not stained by the worldly. You are to dress a certain way and avoid looking “worldly”.

But as you grow older, perceptions change and you begin to have a mind of your own that either becomes stronger in the faith or questions how you were brought up and everything you were taught. This is where you see others leaving the church but still remain believing in God. They just refuse to conform to standards of the church. Others have gone on to be atheists.

Growing up in a caged environment comes to affect someone’s life in future. The following are some of the areas that get affected;

Social life. Now that you have your own mind and realize that there is more to life than just living religiously, you find that you no longer have close friends from within the religious circle. This is because you cannot stomach their rigid and judgemental views on life. They also frown at your “compromised and fallen” ways of living. But guess what happens also? You find yourself failing to associate with people outside religious circles because you find their life to be a bit extreme. It does not align with your life’s beliefs. You end up being without friends and labeled “anti-social”.

Sexual purity is taken very seriously and approached with a lot of Do’s and Dont’s. Sex talk is considered to be ungodly conversation because it opens doors to sin. This deprives the youth of the much needed sexual information in their delicate stage of life. You cannot pray sexual feelings away.

Some more strict congregations in rural areas have a unique sitting arrangement where they separate females from males to prevent sexual temptation. Imagine what thoughts run in their heads when they have an opportunity to interact with the other gender. This is the reason they become wild when they go in an environment (college or university) that offers them freedom and a lot of temptations. They fail to handle their emotions because they were never exposed to situations that allow them to deal with sexual feelings and urges. I wonder how many sexual offenders are from these strict backgrounds with a clean sexual record. I also wonder how many people have lived sexually pure lives only to come and defile their matrimonial bed.

When guilty of sexual sin, some groups allow their youth to seek counseling and prayer from a church elder. Imagine the shock and confusion when the youth is asked if he/she used protection. How were they supposed to know about protection when you never taught them?

Rather than focusing on perfection, there is need to focus on growth in the faith. Everyone needs to have an experience that strengthens their belief in God. Allow youths to learn and appreciate beliefs. They are at a stage where they question a lot of things while fighting serious battles within themselves.This is the time for youth leaders to be closer so that they offer real, life-based guidance when needed. The problem is that we want to have perfect youths through our own efforts, forgetting that God is the one who transforms people through his word.

Preachers and youth leaders need to learn a bit of psychology and psych-social skills that allow them to introduce and conduct hot discussions on sex, dating and marriage. This will help youths to build trust in their leaders and have enough confidence to approach them with their issues. This provides a valve where youth pressures are released. Questions are answered. Problems are avoided.

Lead youths with love, understanding and guidance. Do not be angry on God’s behalf and condemn them to hell. God is love. Show grace.

4 thoughts on “Caged People – Part 1

  1. I love this. I left the church for about 10 years because it was so judgmental, but I still believed in God and the love of Christ. This year I joined a different church and experienced love and acceptance there for the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

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