Increasing evidence based on research – particularly from author/researcher Christian Smith, (read Soul Searching and Souls in Transition) reveals a radically changing generational dynamic. Smith refers to the new generation of adolescents as “Emerging Adults”. Notably, these emerging adults are decidedly different from the normative behaviors and life habits from even the generation that just preceded them. Their distinctive feature is a delayed entry into true adult cultural and sociological norms and attitudes. Put another way, today’s young are essentially defenseless against the imminent attack on their lives, their livelihood, their health, their sanity and even their very souls.
Essentially most anyone living today who grew up in first half of the past century or shortly thereafter, that is “Baby Boomers”, find it difficult to understand how anyone cannot see things the way they do. They believe that the lens of their perspective is too clear to deny. The cultural norms of the Baby Boomer generation seem to be at real odds with the generation of today, (Generation X or Millennials) those who fall into the age group of 13 to 29. This is the span of age that now comprises adolescence. When you hear someone say that young people today, in referring to adolescent behavior as “just like we were growing up only more selfish” (or angrier, or more rebellious… as examples) are not really aware that young people today are indeed decidedly different from previous generations; much more different in their world view, their relationships, their dignity and most especially, their self-worth and significance.
Few adolescents are prepared to deal with life on terms that they can rely on to defend them against the abuse the world will bring because their parents, (even if they live within an intact family as only) are not really prepared to guide them through the life ahead.
Dr. Chap Clark, in Hurt 2.0, the second edition of his seminal book, Hurt, detailing the research of young people in our day and age articulated the phenomenon of this generational construct this way: “I came to believe that we as a society have allowed the institutions and systems originally designed to nurture children and adolescents to lose their missional mandate. In other words, society has systematically abandoned the young.”
With this as a background, America, indeed the entire western world, is not prepared for the clash of cultures that now looms directly ahead of us. Secular Humanists, which is the term we can apply to the vast group of people living today who deny religious convictions of almost any kind, but are particularly at odds with the Christian faith, have determined that religion is not only outmoded and narrow-minded, but antithetical to their world view. They believe with increasing conviction that Christians in particular have no serious contribution and are therefore impediments to a new world order. The minds and souls of our adolescents are their focus and the greatest prize for the continuing march into the “Brave New World.”
But sadly, it gets even worse. What awaits us on now the world stage is this ideology pitted against that of an increasingly brazen, emboldened and horrifically violent Islamic uprising that sees life through the lens of a seventh century religious prophet. Even most Christians have little understanding of Islam and how it is that Sharia law, far more than the teachings found in the Koran will spell disaster for liberty, justice and a peaceful, vigorous future of our children. There will be few who are prepared for the battle that is already at our doorstep.
The least prepared will be our children.
There is much more to be said on this subject and that will be forthcoming in future posts, but this much should be declared: The situation is dire. There are few times in history that has presented such a starkly existential threat to western culture as now. At her birth, America cast off the bonds of servitude to a dishonest and tyrannical British Empire and it seemed as if God had given her the grace to do so. Today, America is not, as some want to believe, a nation predominantly populated with believing Christians. What happens next is mostly a matter of conjecture – although some believe the last days are upon us.
As usual in these essays, there is a question; and this one is crucial: What can we do to prevent disaster if it’s not already too late? The answer may lie with us, the Baby Boomers who witnessed the seeds sown to the wind when we were adolescents. If we were more able to observe than actually participate in the madness of the 60’s and 70’s we may be able to claim to have gained wisdom. God blesses wisdom. So we live as Jesus taught is to live: actively pursuing Him, praying and fasting for His will, being about His Father’s business and training our children in the ways they should go so they will depart from them.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.- Psalm 127:3-5
Our Children are precious. To leave them for the enemy to devour would require stunning callousness. Therefore, we must arm ourselves with knowledge and wisdom and then employ our Spiritual gifts to reclaim that which we are losing. But we must hurry as we are running out of time.
For information on obtaining more on the references that appear in this essay – go here