Losing Our Religion
It's his attempt not at a gimmick, he says, but to reach those who these days find organized religion, at its best, irrelevant - at its worst, intolerant.
"I don't think we have been vulnerable enough," said Pastor Young. "I don't think we have been real enough about issues and about life. You have to realize that the church is pretty much one generation away from extinction."
Indeed, it's the young - one out of every three person surveyed under the age of 30 - who say they don't link themselves with a church, a mosque, a synagogue, or anything else.
Compare that, with the "Greatest Generation," where only one in 20 claimed no religious home.
"We're in kind of a post-denominational phase, I think, in many ways in the United States," said Charles Kimball, Director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. "That's still dramatically different that what you see in Europe, but you see that pattern, I think, is present here as well."
While Kimball says most of his students still respect religious organizations as a power to do good in the world, it's often their stands on social issues - abortion and gay rights in particular - that he feels are driving the young away.
"The vast majority of students, even people coming out of pretty traditional religious backgrounds, don't see these as a big deal. They don't get, what's the issue here, don't understand it," Kimball said. "You can see a real clear shift away from dogmatism there."
We gathered a few of his students together. All said they believe in God, but agreed organized religion has largely failed to adapt to a changing culture.
Carleigh Houghtling, who grew up a conservative Christian, said, "I don't understand, like, how a loving God can send people to Hell. I'm pretty sure if I disobeyed my parents, they would not throw me in the fireplace," she laughed.
J.C. Fischer was raised Methodist, and still goes to church - but only about once a month. "There's so much, like, bureaucracy and rules and things that a church has to do that don't necessarily fit with the beliefs or the tenants that they preach," Fischer said.
Martha Fulton grew up Baptist, went to Catholic schools, and for the moment attends a Methodist church.
"While I wouldn't say that I am really strongly affiliated with the church I go to now, I do feel that I get something out of it," she said. "It's sort of like, when a person says they're single and looking rather than, just single and not ever hoping to find anything else."
There are plenty of alternatives for those looking to worship in a more individual way.
One of the most popular holiday services in New York City this time of year is a revival of the ancient solstice rituals, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Paul Winter leads the celebration: "The journey through the longest night is symbolic of the catharsis of coming through the dark night of the soul," he said.