Tired of Pleasing the World Instead of God
December 13, 2013

Dear Theo,

How does a GenX and/or GenY young adult answer in a Christian manner the rather unchristian accusations and name-calling of the older generations? We are trying to please the world (our blood families, church families, and society as a whole) to the best of our abilities, but more often than not are blamed for the plight of America because we aren't doing enough. But how can we do enough when education is out of our reach and jobs are scarce? How can we contribute to society when we are blocked from ever having an opinion? With the shut down and the ACA in full swing, how can we answer in a Christian manner all the negativity and still manage to keep our sanity and calm?

Tired of Pleasing the World instead of Pleasing God

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Dear Tired,

So, you've heard some older people claim that younger people are running this country into the ground.  What else is new? People have been complaining about "kids these days" since time immemorial.  Your parents' generation may think that your generation is ushering in sociopolitical doom, just as their own generation's dire failings were exhaustively catalogued by their parents before them, and on and on back to a cave where Ugg sat fretting about the sorry state of young Woog and his friends.  Meanwhile "a generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever" (Ecclesiastes 1:4).

Since intergenerational conflict appears to be hardwired into our DNA, rather than a new burden unique to your own generation's entry into adulthood, your best response, Tired, might simply be to let these obvious generalities slide off of you like water off the proverbial duck's back.  I mean, if someone is regularly browbeating you with their generational politics, that's one thing—and an unacceptable thing, and something that would absolutely justify the put-upon tone of your letter.  But if not, I'm left wondering what it is that has you in particular caught up in these age-old generational skirmishes.  You're not the duly appointed spokesperson for your generation, so what is it that's allowed these comments to get under your skin?  Is it possible that there's some fear, doubt, or insecurity in your own mind that is being triggered by these tired clichés?

I hear the passion and the sense of social responsibility in your letter, and it's true there's no shortage of work to be done bringing our world one step closer to God's vision of peace and justice for all people, but remember, Tired, that none of us have to solve all the world's problems singlehandedly.   Remember that all any of us have to do is the work that God has given us for today, and whether we are children of the Depression, Boomers, or Generations X, Y, and Z, our personal lives and our common lot alike are cradled in God's hand—the God "who has been our dwelling place in all generations" (Psalm 90:1).

Bless you, and may you be a blessing,

Theo

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