implications of the “lockbox theory” for youth workers

really excellent article on the fuller youth institute blog about tim clydesdale’s “lockbox theory” (which i’ve been seeing a lot about in the blog world). really, it’s a must read for high school and college pastors, as well as a helpful read for parents.

here’s the description of the lockbox theory from the article:

If collegians are neither abandoning their faith because of a hostile college environment, nor deeply interested in spirituality, what are they experiencing? College students seem to be following a third path of storing their religious beliefs, practices, and convictions in a sort of “identity lockbox” as they develop other parts of their identity (e.g., vocational identity, relational identity). Clydesdale explains that the lockbox “protects religious identities, along with political, racial, gender, and civic identities, from tampering that might affect their holders’ future entry into the American cultural mainstream.”

the article is worth the read for two main reasons:

1. it talks about a theory that is based on research, and counter to much of the popular thinking about older adolescents (or “emerging adults” — read: college students) and faith.

2. it offers a handful of very helpful suggestions as to what youth workers should do with this information.

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