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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Values of Youth

This is a generalization, of course, but let's think about it for a moment. What are the typical characteristics of youth these days?

Well, clearly there is a culture of "question authority" and even "question the old", and not in a good way. No, what I mean is that they're not asking the elderly for advice or wisdom, but simpy beginning with the premise that "young is better" and learning from the old isn't too important.

There is certainly a sense of being rather than becoming. I've heard nearly every age group at some point or another say, "You still think I'm a kid!" The suggestion is "I have arrived. Why are you in my way?" Or, "I am ... I am not becoming."

The youth tend to have a sense of independence. They show it in obvious ways like appearance (hair, clothes, body piercing, tattoos, etc.), but that's only the outside. They also tend to believe they are independent thinkers, not reliant on those who went before or even each other. They like to think they are independent spiritually. They aren't tied down to a church or an organization or even a religion. They're spiritual, typically, but not limited to a particular type of spiritual. "I'll do it my way" is the typical attitude. Many longstanding institutions are in question for youth, including such things as marriage, family, sexual morality, church, government, and so on.

Youth tend toward creativity. Move forward. Progress. Change. Leave the old behind. Press on to the new. Don't stand still, for pity sake, or you'll get passed by.

There are more, but I think these are largely typical. Many young people today share these characteristics. They may even recognize them and value them.

We live in a largely youth culture. Our media tells us that the wisest people on the planet are the kids. A generation ago (or more) the mantra was "Don't trust anyone over 30." Churches cater to the young (where "young" is "not old" ... like me). They spend the money. They are the most outspoken. They are generally the most ardent.

Can you see, then, why retaining a biblical worldview would be difficult? Can you see why there is a push against conserving traditions, retaining traditional values, maintaining institutions? Can you see why it would be harder to lean to the right than to the left politically? And, given the world's natural animosity toward the things of God, it only gets harder to be conservative as a Christian. Is there really any reason to question why we see the disappearing belief that the Bible is God's Word, inerrant, infallible, the sole authority on matters of faith and practice? Stand where the saints of old have stood -- on the Word of God and the historical orthodoxy of the Church -- and you will very quickly be standing alone. You're not questioning authority. You're not being independent. You're not progressing. You're not "with it". Oh, wait ... I suppose that's outdated. Never mind. But you get the idea.


Dan said...

Anyone can sow as they please, the trick is, however, to be please with what is reaped.

Stan said...

When values are informed by feelings rather than thinking, it's a tough "row to hoe". That is, the seeds sown that way will often not produce a pleasant crop.