I am part of the baby buster generation born between 1964 to around 1982. We are also known as Generation 13 (born from 1961 to 1981 because it’s the 13th to know the flag of the United States) or the more popular team Generation X (1964, with various dates offered for its ending year.)
Time Magazine printed the following in an article written by David M. Gross and Sophfronia Scott on Monday, Jul. 16, 1990
“. . .They possess only a hazy sense of their own identity but a monumental preoccupation with all the problems the preceding generation will leave for them to fix . . .This is the twenty-something generation, those 48 million young Americans ages 18 through 29 who fall between the famous baby boomers and the boomlet of children the baby boomers are producing. Since today’s young adults were born during a period when the U.S. birthrate decreased to half the level of its postwar peak, in the wake of the great baby boom, they are sometimes called the baby busters. By whatever name, so far they are an unsung generation, hardly recognized as a social force or even noticed much at all…By and large, the 18-to-29 group scornfully rejects the habits and values of the baby boomers, viewing that group as self-centered, fickle and impractical. While the baby boomers had a placid childhood in the 1950s, which helped inspire them to start their revolution, today’s twenty-something generation grew up in a time of drugs, divorce and economic strain. . .They feel influenced and changed by the social problems they see as their inheritance: racial strife, homelessness, AIDS, fractured families and federal deficits”
Many listened to Punk music and later on Grunge with many undertones reflecting disgust, frustrations and disenchantment of some teenagers and young adults. I know I am not alone in my questioning of everything including my belief in God, The Church and the governments. We saw the end of the Cold War and the wall in Berlin torn down.
In my own personal journey I began questioning my own non denominational church after spending time seeking something real while I was on the mission field in Kyrgyzstan. In Bishkek I attended a Korean Presbyterian church and was taught the Apostles Creed. I was never taught any true testament of faith by my church back home and started wondering why. Is there any harm in having a creed to go by? I was looking for a foundation. We sung as children the parable Jesus taught about having a house built on sand and to build your house on the rock which was the Lord Jesus Christ. This churned inside for several years after.
During this time period I also learned about a whole other church, The Orthodox Church. I decided at the time it was not for me because it was full of formalism and kind of dead and in another language. It would be something I would have to question. I did pray a dangerous prayer, “God show me the REAL you and show me your REAL church”.
Don’t ever do this unless you want scales to fall off your eyes, much like the story of the emperor’s new clothes…
When I arrived home, I started seeing a lack of accountability in my own church. The music was great the teaching was bible based but I seemed to become discontent with the realization that some of the orchestra was being paid to perform. We had a new pastor since the last one left because of troubles. He started teaching in church history, including the gap between the counsels and the reformation. He did away with manipulation in his teaching and actually read the velveteen rabbit to us. We started saying the Apostles Creed. We read St. Patrick’s prayer. The paid orchestra members were let go. It got me seeking.
Now you would think our church grew because we cast aside manipulation, used a statement of faith and worked on true genuine love. Actually it didn’t. Many of the baby boomers and older members rejected this. They wanted their spiritual high each Sunday and Wednesday and they were not getting their fix; much like an addict going through withdrawals. They would mention “he is making us catholic” and mention all the ills of the Roman Catholic Church. But never understanding or seeking. The youth however seemed to grasp and want to know more. I would go to camp as a counselor and see the youth sing quietly and have a genuine hunger for something real and not superficial. The gifts were mentioned but never forced or manipulated much like how the church fathers taught. The youth pastor presented history along with biblical teaching
I know many in my generation are seeking for something real and not another church split. A firm foundation set in stone. They are not finding this in mainline churches that often put up a façade. They entertain well and give nice fill in the blank sermons. The pastor is under pressure to come up with a stirring book report on the bible. The music tries to be modern and appealing to all that attend but often the lyrics are very “Me Generation”. It is nice for a season but there is always a determination for something new. The focus is on confusion, dancing and jumping to get attention. You feel “fed” but later on hunger. Believe me many are very sincere in this. It is what they see and pick up and use scripture taken out of context to back up their behavior.
In my searching for truth I ended up watching a video of new agers
in Oregon whipping themselves into frenzy to music then slowly becoming mellower and mellower. Most mega church worship uses the same model. I realized that it was manipulation to chill you out and make you receptive to whatever. I know many worship leaders may not know that they are modeling their worship after new agers. It is taught to them in Bible collage or they pick it up from others. After 2 years into Orthodoxy, my priest mentioned something to me very profound. The devil likes to dress up like Jesus and pretend to be him.
What I came to the realization is, if you eat a candy bar your hunger is satisfied for a short time. You eat a healthy home cooked meal slowly savoring each bite tasting each piece appealing to all your 5 senses; you will walk away with something that will last. My generation is looking to not be told another feel good for a shot time. We want something that will last. I am not saying that Orthodoxy is the answer but it is something to experience after using the words of Christ.
“32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” –Matthew 6:32-34 (New King James Version)
Once you are finished seeking and want to be in a place where the Holy Spirit shows up every Sunday and you end up digesting everything throughout the week. Read every part of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom along with your bible. You will realize that what you have done is something that intercessors have been doing over the centuries. You can spend a year taking the whole thing apart.
It may take you a little bit to work on. Find an Orthodox Church and visit 3 Sundays. (you won’t be able to grasp everything when you attend only once, [it is that concentrated]) Before you attend the first time, I suggest reading the 12 things I wish I have known
article by Frederica Matthews Green. Read over some church history from the first to the 7th century. There are several resources across the internet and this site. Pray a simple prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Ask God to show you the REAL Him from your heart.
I believe this will appeal to anyone that doesn’t want fakeness. OK this may sound silly but read the Velveteen Rabbit.
Yes it is not out of the bible or any deep theological seminary but it will speak to you.
A good podcast that speaks to our generation is found at Icon new media network called Generation Orthodox
. Also listen to Our Life in Christ
In summery and conclusion, I would like to say that if you are noticing that you have experienced in your 20-30 something years on this planet every sort of convincing movement, blessing, church split, heartache, and about to give up. Give it one last try and come home to the heart of where every church began 2000+ years ago it is historical but very actual. It is not easy or simple packaged Christianity but honestly has anything been simple and easy for our generation?
Love in Christ,