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The term millennial—as in, that generation born between 1981 and 2000—does not tend to bring to mind the notion of tradition. Millennials, considered as a group, are not particularly known for rigorous adherence to particular traditions. Nor are they known for their “traditional” ways of doing things. That said, a number of commentators have noted a rising tide of interest in tradition in the spiritual lives of young people in this country. For some, this interest takes the form of a self-conscious appropriation of a single theological or historical expression of the Christian faith, as demonstrated, for example, by joining a Roman Catholic, Reformed, or Anabaptist church. More often, it takes the form of a turn to traditional elements of liturgy. In this paper, I examine the self-conscious turn to tradition, particularly among evangelical millennials. In doing so, I hope to articulate the social and contextual factors that encouraged this turn, as well as the desires and dissatisfactions that are being expressed through it. My ultimate aim is to determine whether this turn to tradition carries legitimate prospects for helping young Christians live more faithfully in our late-modern context.


Originally by the Other Journal in the special edition: Tradition & Traditions, Vol 23, No. 5, (2014).

Used by Permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers

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