I’ve posted this on my different venues, so some may find it a repeat.
Here are a couple questions that revolve around younger people – I suppose Gen Y types (teens to mid-twenties). I truly do want to hear what others thing about this, because our notions of these things will affect the future of the Church and how it is conducted (what we do and whether what we do meets the honest needs of future generations â€“ remember, we could â€œget it,â€ but if we donâ€™t others will):
Unlike myself and others who deal with the constant CHANGE out of necessity but have not grown up in the midst of this cultural phenomena and do not intuitively consider it the norm, the younger generation(s) do consider unrelenting change to be the intuitive-norm. It just is – just like texting just is.
1.) In an intuitively experienced world where the norm is constant change, perpetuated by the fluidity of knowledge, the speed and immediacy of communications, and in a post-modern milieu of inconsequential meta-narrative, in this kind of world is the desire for something constant becoming a whelming inner-need (whether recognized or not) within/among younger people?
2.) Is the culturally-experienced-notion-of-change spurring within us a desire for that which is tried, stable, and hearkens to something unchangeable that can be held onto for a sense of security or stability?
3.) Could this be a reason why generationally, younger folks seek out spiritual experiences that encourage and exemplify tradition, mystery, and ancientness? (Obviously knowing that not all people seek out these kinds of things, but demographically this does seem to hold true for this generation.)
4.) Could this be a sign for us as a Church to not be so quick to depend on the Baby-Boomer-generational-need to remake everything and perpetuate a constant change away from the ancient, the staid, the traditional rendering of things?
Remember, as much as Baby-Boomers rebelled against the 1950’s “Leave It To Beaver” kind of life-experience, they still benefited from the positive aspects of growing up within that kind of world. The later generations were removed more and more from those positive aspects until now we don’t know how to slow-down, be quiet, or experience a sense of serenity because of this inbred cultural compulsion to constant and every speedier change.
In a society where nothing is very stable, a seeking for and a need for something that is stable can become an incredible need for our own wellbeing. “Be still and know that I am God,” becomes in the currently-normal-life something that just may not be possible for too many people, and yet people desire to know that which is True (contra post-modernism), tried, mysterious, and stable.
5.) What is the role of the Church in all this?
I think that we have under the leadership of the Baby-boomer generation perpetuated much needed change, but the goal is not unrelenting change. I think for some the goal, whether recognized or not, has become constant change. I think we can only maintain this for so long before we sense the excess and negative results of this kind of existence. I think the younger generations are beginning to understand this, if only through a sense that â€œsomething just isnâ€™t quite right.â€
Right now, for the sake of the younger generations that may well be overwhelmed with the phenomena of unrelenting change in all areas of life, we need to stop for a bit, step-back, and evaluate what we have wrought. If we can get out of a Baby-boomer inspired anti-establishmentarianism and rebellion against that which is traditional or tries to be constant, we might see that things do need to and will change, but there also needs to be something that ties us back and secures us as we move forward in the same way that a tether holds an astronaut to the spaceship. In the exploration of space, the astronaut always comes back to the ship. Change without the benefit of wisdom born of patience, experience, and humility will not in the long run accomplish the desired effect.
6.) Could there be more to the Gen Y affinity for Rite I language, for churches that look gothic-esque (“looks like a church”), for traditional liturgies and rituals â€“ something other than a normal and dismissive explanation of, “oh, theyâ€™re just rebelling against their parentsâ€™ way of doing things?”
7.) Could there be building within this generation an intuitive sense that unrelenting change is not benefiting the soul-of-man as some would like to believe, and that for them they see in the institution of the Church that thing which still understands and values (at least some do) and maintains a sense of the unchangable, the very True, the tether that keeps them from spinning off into “death” of whatever form?