Nov. 20, 2021 – These young people do not assert what “it” is, but they are comfortable claiming, “not this.” Eve Tuck, professor, educator, and activist, writes about the power of such refusal in the face of oppression: “[R]efusal is a generative stance, not just a ‘no,’ but a starting place…” (Tuck and Yang, 2014, p. 812). Indeed, the rise in young people reporting identifications of “not religious” and “just Christian” to describe their religious identities carry a similar thread of refusal; this “no” is not a dead end but an invitation to imagine what those identities could be.

Decades of research on identity development has shown the value and necessity of uncertainty in order to form a clear and secure sense of identity. Moratorium is the stage of uncertainty in identity development, a period characterized by exploration, questioning, (re)consideration (Erikson, 1968; Marcia, 1966). The prevalence of uncertainty during the formative years of 13-25, is not new but the Springtide report suggests that young people are embracing the uncertainty; rather than fear, judgment, and rejection, they are practicing ways to accept and trust in the midst of it. Like Ananya, a 22-year-old, who described her confidence in the face of anxieties and uncertainty:

“When I go to an event or meet someone I don’t know, I feel very overwhelmed, but then, I’ve just go to remind myself that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s not a big deal and it will be okay” (Springtide, 2021, p. 41).


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