Tuesday, August 28, 2012

don't leave for me a twenty year old says....

generational gap

so the former 
"mainline" denominational church 
has been wringing their hands
and wiping their brow over the 
absence of those under the age of 40.

we used to talk about 
the absence of 20 somethings
now we wonder where the 
30 somethings are? 

i recently read an article 
by a young evangelical 

i do not consider myself to 
be "evangelical" in the way 
the term has been defined in modern america.
i am 
evangelical in that i 
have been called to share
(speak and live) 
the story of faith 
as i've come to understand it and experience it.

to tell the story i've experienced 
is to tell the 
story of a generation gap. 

i've grown up
in the middle
of two generations.

i'm on the very fringe end of the
baby boomer generation
which means i was just a baby
when hippy
flowers in your hair
snub the establishment
was in full gear.

in adulthood and in ministry 
i encountered the "yuppy era"
that strange moment when
the former 
snub the establishment generation
became the establishment
in a very big way.

of course
sweeping statements
such as the ones i write
fail to acknowledge that
not all of any group can
be so easily define
and categorized.  

some baby boomers are still hippies.
other baby boomers
helped to replace one establishment
with another kind of establishment.

and yet other baby boomers
more readily identify with
the generation before them
or the generation after them.

what ever the case may be
baby boomers
are currently the base of
leadership in denominational churches
and are the very ones
faced with the question....

where did the
under 40 somethings go?


what must we do to
bring them back into the fold?

with this question 
a young man defining himself as an evangelical 
in the presbyterian church (u.s.a. ) writes:

It’s not that people under 40 don’t care about denominationalism.  No, it’s that we don’t care for the way in which the baby boomers have fought and bickered for decades now. And we really don’t care for baby-boomer definitions and labels.

“Conservative” means less to my generation than “connected.” “Liberal” means nothing compared to “unified.” “Progressive” is a meaningless term when compared to “missional,” and “tradition” is only appealing when associated with our church traditions — not our American political traditions.  If “denominationalism” is simply a smaller stage for the same dramas acted out in the American political scene, then no, we don’t like “denominationalism.”  (article from the Presbyterian Outlook: http://pres-outlook.com/infocus-features/current-features/17173.html )

as i said 
i am not an evangelical 
in the way "evangelical" 
has been defined in america.

when i saw the term 
evangelical attached to this
young man's article i flinched
and almost didn't read it...

i read on
i am thankful.

what should we do
at this juncture in the life 
of our denomination?

and listen!

we talk an awful lot 
on behalf of
those  who are under 40.

what we learn 
with this young man's 

we need to do a lot 
more listening.  


these terms 
don't divide
and separate. 

i was born 
in a time which puts 
me in between two 
that fact does not get me off 
the hook...

i've done my fair share
of tugging and talking. 

i pray
for no 
more tug of war!

some of us need to 
drop and listen...

others of us need to
speak until 
our voices are heard.  

it feels 
as if it is too 

and then again
this isn't the 
first time 
GOD has had to 
a stubborn 

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