I have been reading more and more blogs lately that have a tendency to blast those who were born after 1981 as having no culture or no class or no sense of theology. These bloggers call us the “Dissillusioned Generation,” or accuse us lacking any unique culture ” or of whining too much, or finally of being silent (not always a bad thing in this case, but the implication seems to be that we lack passion). I can’t help but feel troubled by these accusations–I mean, we are a generation that has faced many challenges but also one that has grown up in a world extremely different from that of our parents.
Mostly, I am still trying to sort out a coherent response to these blanket-statement claims regarding the twenty-somethings of my time period– but I can’t help but observe that, based on the line that is drawn by most (1981) we are only 27 tops, and it strikes me that the cultural contributions of most generations aren’t fully felt until we get OUT of our teens and out of school and into the world…. and besides, is it really fair for some 35 year old who has a vested interested in his or her own experiences to run around judging what a 15 year old finds meaningful? Is it fair for the older folks to chastise an 18 year old for using the language of his or her generation to express a desire “hang out with Jesus” without considering that language is so contextual to the group that uses it and that it might mean something different for that generation than for another? Is it right for the adults whom my generation ought to be looking up to to simply write off everything we do as “not good enough” rather than seeking to journey along with and attempt to understand more fully the experiences of those younger than them?
Maybe my opinions will change, but it is my suspicion that this tendency to write off an entire generation as a failure is a bit premature….and unloving and unChristian and anti-community. We ought to be using our energies to understand and uplift one another, not tear one another down just because we don’t like what they do. Sure, reality television and most media culture bothers me, but that doesn’t strike me as a legitimate reason to write off an entire age group as useless… if I am right, in fact, it could be thrown back that it is the Generation Xers who are in fact “producing” and “promoting” that junk, and that Generation Y folks are more consumers who have grown up in a pre-existing media culture that encourages their consumption. Not that I would throw back… I’m just saying.
Anyways, my preliminary challenge, before I have had a lot of time to think this through, is that as people seeking to live in community and in faith with one another, we are called to journey with, not against, those beside us, particularly those who will be here long after we are gone. Because like it or not, we are here to stay, and I think the world would be a whole lot better off if we could seek to uplift and love and understand and celebrate one another rather than looking for excuses to ignore or disparage our neighbors. Just a thought.