That Rattling Sound Under Society's Hood
If society was a car, it would be making a lot of troubling noises. There is always the temptation to just ignore those sounds and hope that they go away on their own. That’s just not how it works. Noises tend to get worse. Matter of fact, loud noises usually were preceded by quieter noises which were ignored. Part of figuring out how to repair a car is locating the source of the noises.
So what is all that rattling under the societal hood? It’s a lot of things. One of the sources is an intense inter-generational hostility.
A while back, I posted, “There’s a deep generational anger burning in the children and grandchildren of Boomers. Boomers don’t get it, which only further enrages their progeny.”
And then I immediately followed it up with:
“The children and grandchildren of Boomers don’t fully realize that their generational anger bleeds into their functional theology, particularly ecclesiology.”
The first post about Boomers generated a lot of comments, the second about Millennials/Zoomers not so much.
Let’s talk about the Boomer post.
That post was simply stating a reality. I didn’t approve or disapprove one way or the other. There was no bashing of Boomers or condoning of Millennials/Zoomers. I fall into the young Gen-X category. This post wasn’t because I’m personally mad or something along those lines. I’m not. Also, the post was dealing with broad generational trends. No one is claiming that all intergenerational relationships are hostile. I’m glad you love your dad and mom. Praise God.
Let’s talk about the comments on the Boomer post.
There were strong emotions on both sides in the comments on that post which only further proved my point. This is a touchy subject. I don’t think it generates hostility as much as it reveals already existing hostility.
You’ll also notice that the comments quickly turn to the issue of blame. It’s not all their fault. It is all their fault. Stop being a whiny victim. Admit to your failure. So on and so forth. Blame is a relevant issue. However, it’s not the one I care most about. The issue I care about is people, whichever generation they belong to, taking responsibility for their own failures and success. So, of course, I see sin on all sides.
Let’s shrink this down to illustrate what I think would be the start of a better approach…
Imagine a wise friend telling you that “There’s a deep anger burning in your children towards you. You don’t get it, which only further enrages your children.”
What is your reaction? Is it to immediately mount a defense and challenge them for examples? I get that you may get there at some point. However, my initial desire would be to reaffirm my love for them, own whatever sins I’ve committed, and then to work towards reconciliation. It’s hard to stay angry at someone who reacts with love and humility.
Let’s do something similar with the Millennials/Zoomers post.
Imagine a wise friend telling you that “you don’t fully realize that your anger towards your parents bleeds into your functional theology, particularly ecclesiology.”
What is your reaction? Is it to immediately mount a defense and justify your anger with examples of their failures? Again, that would be part of the conversation. However, my initial desire would be to want to make sure my emotions aren’t the driving force behind my theology and then biblically address my anger so as to make sure it doesn’t.
That’s a start, no?
Christianity is intergenerational. It’s the nature of how God works. Timothys need Pauls, Pauls need Timothys. Younger women need Titus 2 women, Titus 2 women need younger women. We need the strength and vigor of youth. We need the wisdom and resources of the aged. This inter-generational hostility is a threat to the long term well-being of the church. If you unnecessarily divide the generations, you are an enemy of the church and strategically an idiot.
You can JUST play a blame game or get out your tools and get under the hood.