Theological Roots of Youth Empowerment

Tera Little, former youth advisor, DRE and current UUA Pacific Southwest District Lifespan Consultant, wrote an intriguing short article for the Synapse Youth Paper (now online only, like the Journal of LIberal Religion) entitled Foundations of UU Youth Ministry.  In it, she discusses the centrally important, yet very complex and controversial concept of youth empowerment, a term she notes that has never had a working definition or written meaning in UU circles.  She draws on the theological ideas of Channing, namely his idea of self-culture and our ability to shape ourselves, and Emerson’s self-reliance and the sacredness of the integrity of each mind, in laying out what she sees as the 3 tenants of Unitarian Universalist Youth Empowerment: freedom with responsibility, leadership development, and the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.  I’ve known Tera for over a decade, and she writes from deep experience as well as with critical theoretical understandings.  I hadn’t seen the new Synapse online format yet, and really enjoyed both the material, and the accessibility.  It has direct relevance for young adult and campus ministry, as the culture of youth who are bridging into our communities are bringing with them ways of life that change and adapt within our ministery.

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One response to “Theological Roots of Youth Empowerment

  1. I hadn’t seen the Synapse change either. It’s sad really. Synapse has always had the potential to be a truly awesome publication, but has always been held back from such by money, and the prohibition on selling advertising to support it.

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