There’s a new division in town, and we’re talking about my g-g-generation. With the rise of sociology, demographics, and marketing we find the world is finding new ways to divide us, sift us, and put us where we belong. Which means in turn that the church is doing much the same. Add to the mix the potent brew of victimology and we are off to the races.
I was born in 1965. On more than one occasion I have seen statistics that suggest the baby boom ended in 1964, and others suggesting that Gen-X begins in 1966. That makes me, and others born in 1965 the Generation-less Generation. We don’t know who we are, or where we belong. We can set the clock on a VCR, but don’t know how to do a hard-drive refresh.
Which may explain why none of this makes any sense to me. What does being young have to do with being Reformed? What does my birthday have to do with my understanding of the biblical role of the state? What is the difference between being missional, and being obedient? And ultimately, isn’t the Bible, the church, the means of grace, aren’t these all for all of us?
I am not suggesting that there might not be similarities in outlook among some who were born in the same decade. I am not arguing against the notion that this group might have this weakness, and that group might tend toward that strength. What I am suggesting is it doesn’t matter a lick. Not. A. Lick. My calling before God transcends my generation, or lack thereof. My need from God is the same as those who were born before me, and as those who were born after me. My parents need every day to repent and believe the gospel. My children need every day to repent and believe the gospel. Skinny jeans and wool caps have nothing to do with it.
Pride and selfishness are driven by living for self, by a me perspective. By demanding attention in bulk, we haven’t moved to a you perspective, but a we perspective. That is, we are being selfish together. Which is still altogether selfish. “What about us and our needs” is no great improvement over “What about me and my needs?” Wrestling for my generation’s megaphone, to speak for my people is still wrestling for a megaphone, and worse, it misses who my people are. My people are old people, not the greatest generation. They are aging people, not boomers. They are young people, not millenials. And as many as are afar off.
What I need is to learn to recognize my family. What I need to learn is that what defines me is the same thing that defines every other Christian, whatever their age—the blood of Christ that washes us, the Spirit of Christ who indwells us, the Kingdom of Christ that welcomes us. We have been given a transcendent gospel that not only crosses barriers, but breaks them down. The gospel makes of the many one. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. We are no longer defined by what we buy, but by the One who bought us. May He give us the grace to toss overboard our generational markers, and may we recognize each other the same way those outside are to recognize us, by our love for each other.
Basement Tape #18: Discerning the Church is the first in a four-part series on the marks of the true church.