More than 110 young adults overpacked an upstairs room at Villa Macri Ristorante, Mishawaka, July 16 to hear a presentation by Dr. Timothy O’Malley, director of education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. The gathering was part of the Theology on Tap series organized by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Young Adult Ministry.
O’Malley energetically relayed his ideas about hookup culture, technology and ways young adults can cultivate authentic relationships in a world built in isolation to a crowd as equally energized. He brought to the surface the very real issues of commitment present in young adults and youth today, and the fears that are prevalent in both marriage and deciding where to go for dinner.
“Hookup culture,” he said, “is driven by a fear of commitment to one person, because there could be another person.” He sharply pointed out that the constant fear of missing out on something better than what one has runs rampant in the lives of young adults; but at the same time, they want commitment from another person and stability in that commitment.
The hookup culture is “the best strategy to avoid encountering a human person,” he said, but adding that it leaves only emptiness where it goes.
O’Malley’s suggested remedy is to recognize that “hookup culture” is a myth. According to his research, most people detest the culture of one-night stands and noncommittal words. “One longs to be desired and to desire.”
Avoiding this myth includes not only inviting another person on “a real human date” but being attentive to him or her. Asking about his or her family and truly paying attention, rather than escaping to a phone are paramount in forging authentic relationships.
Discussion among those present indicated that the lessons introduced by O’Malley are true in the lives of many young adults today. Young adults commonly struggle with finding a faith community relevant to their generation after leaving high school or college. But the packed event at Villa Macri radiated a joy like little other for many of them: the joy of young Catholics excited for an opportunity to grow in faith and to know God, themselves and one another to a greater extent.
O’Malley’s discussion of relationships in a hookup culture was the first of Theology on Tap’s summer series, Extraordinary Everyday Purpose. Sessions take place every Tuesday, through Aug. 6, at Villa Macri Ristorante, starting at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on the complete series visit www.diocesefwsb.org/yam-sb. The Fort Wayne area also has begun a Theology on Tap summer series: Information can be found at www.diocesefwsb.org/yam-fw.
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