Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Friday, December 6, 2013

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Hide the kids, Friend, he’s talking about sex!

“The church is perceived as simplistic and judgmental. For a fifth or more [of Millennials], a ‘just say no’ philosophy is insufficient in a techno-porno world. Young Christian singles are as sexually active as their non-churched friends, and many say they feel judged.” (Copyright © 2012 Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.)

When I read this article about how we are losing today’s young people, my first thought was, “Yeah, so what’s your point?” I am fairly certain that this is not the first generation to think their elders were a little quaint in their sexual attitudes. I came of age in the Sixties, for heaven’s sake. We “enjoyed” the arrival of universal birth control, the psychedelic explosion, and the burning of the bras. All that in the context of the Viet Nam fiasco, Woodstock, a man on the moon, and the murder of 2 Kennedy’s and a King. My generation made a moral mess for those who followed. Many of us eventually came to grips with the demands of Scripture in this area, and had to make personal decisions concerning purity and perversion. Those coming of age in the last decade have similar choices to make, but a vastly different atmosphere in which to make them. Two huge differences scream at me as I strive to understand my Millennial friends:

1. Access: The technological explosion of the last 20 years has been liberating and devastating: So much information (and mis-information) so easily accessed with so little actual relationship attached to it. Those who are 20 today don’t remember life without a personal computer or the internet. They see smart phones as appendages rather than tools. They don’t wonder about sex, then go out trying to steal a magazine at the corner store. Instead, they have instant access to every conceivable idea (and video) on the subject without restraint. Their comfort with cyber-relationships makes sexual chat and information exchange easy and thrilling and inevitable. It is a different world with access to a potpourri of relationships and ideas, values optional.

2. Manlessness: More than 4 out of 10 kids in our country are born into a home with no male parent present. Father may still know best if we could only find him. Without rambling about the psycho-impact of fatherlessness on kids, let us simply say that young males without supervision are prone to act like barbarians, and young females without protectors are prone to seek male attention in unproductive ways. Our cultural perception of manhood has deteriorated from John Wayne removing his hat when speaking to Maureen O’Hara, all the way down to Kanye West putting the nude mother of his child on a motorcycle while he chants about “bitches.” We have plenty of males but precious few men.

These two things, I believe, have disoriented and disconnected a generation from their history, their culture, and too often their God: Too much information, too little applied manhood.

Somebody Said: You seek the heights of manhood when you seek the depths of God. Ed Cole

Scripture Reading: Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. (Php 3:17-19 NLT)

I’m not sure of all the answers to reaching the techno-millennial kids. I do know this, we have to maintain an interest in loving them enough to communicate the message of Christ to them with clarity and compassion. No matter our techno-sophistication, we can communicate through a channel of genuine relationship, presence brings Presence. We owe them the gift of a Message that we live rather than nag about. I’m pretty sure they don’t need our outrage, they need our wisdom and godly example. You can’t imitate what you can’t see, and if they don’t see it in us, where will they see it?


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