One division that I have explored a lot in recent years is that of generational divides. There are real differences between us, depending on when each of us was born. For example, Baby Boomers (Americans born between roughly 1943 and 1960) have a huge amount of shared experience that bonds them together as a unique cultural group. The same is true of Generation X (Americans born roughly between 1961-1981) and Millennials(1982-2002?). While each of these generations is comprised of tens of millions of individuals with a huge array of experiences, personalities and individual life choices, we exist within a broader generational context.
This fits with what our consumerist culture tells us about everything else. We are taught from an early age that other people exist to be used and exploited, that life is a battle to be won and that our fellow human beings are our opponents. We have been seduced by a worldview that sees domination as the prerogative of the strong and grinding poverty the rightful fate of the weak. No wonder we live in such a violent, divided society! How can we trust anyone if the purpose of life is to maximize personal profit and minimize personal pain, regardless of the consequences to those around us?
What if we understood our different generations as being vital and necessary members of the same body? What would happen if we saw our generational differences as gifts to be used for blessing all generations? What if Xers offered up their hard-minded expertise and common sense for the good of our whole society? How might the world change if Boomers put forth their deep spirituality and vision as a gift to those who follow in their footsteps? What if we Millennials demonstrated our love to older generations by exercising our emerging gifts of collaboration and team-building? How might we all be transformed if we embraced God’s gifts to our generations and were made one in the Holy Spirit?