We are in the “Facebook age.” So I want to start out this conversation by quoting myself from a post I made a while back. This quote is in the context of different opinions between generations concerning politics, religion, and things of the like. However, the principle can expand to other realms as well. “The older generations (generally speaking) can be subconsciously arrogant because they believe the young people are naïve, and the younger generations (generally speaking) can be subconsciously arrogant because they believe the elderly are stuck in their ways. It would be great if both generations could hear each other out and find middle ground. Humility is the starting point of knowledge.” I quote myself from Facebook to prove this point: Times have changed a LOT! This is both a good and bad thing. Every generation has its strengths and weaknesses just like every individual does. The question is, can we learn from each other?
I think some strengths from the older generations are its respect for authority, its structure, and its work ethic. I believe some weakness are its lack of questions towards authority, its structure being so tight that there is little room for growth, and working so hard that one forgets what he/she is working towards. The strengths and weaknesses of the younger generations seem to be the complete opposite. Could it be that both generations have some things right and some things wrong? Could it be that the truth and most expedient philosophy is somewhere in the nuanced middle? Can we learn from each other?
The Scriptures tell the younger to respect the older and their wisdom. This makes sense because they have lived much longer and have experienced things that the younger ones have yet to understand. However, the younger grew up in this culture and know it in ways that the older does not understand. Younger folks have a huge role in the church. They are not only the “church of tomorrow,” but they are also the “church of today.” In fact, Paul tells Timothy to pick out the elders of several churches. That’s a big deal! He goes on to say for him not to let anyone despise him in his youth. This word “despise” literally means to think less of, disrespect, or belittle. The respect and wisdom goes both ways.
Humility will be the beginning of a bridge that will fix the gap between the generations. That and having some hard conversations that nobody WANTS to have. The older must let go of the sectarian traditions that cause division, and the younger must be patient and understand why certain traditions began in the first place. The younger must respect authority, and the older must realize that there is an appropriate way of questioning said authority. The list goes on and on. Will each of us do our own part in bridging the gap that divides the generations? – Jesse