We were sat around the dinner table. "I was thinking," said Ruben (10), "what does 'Generation X' mean?" We talked about Douglas Coupland and about the generation that does not believe in absolutes, longs for meaning, seeks significance and laughs it all off as ridiculous. "What letter has my generation been given?" We talked about how each generation has not been given a letter by the Great Letter Giver, but that it was an idea to describe how culture moves and changes.
"Well what will define my generation?" We spoke about the unparalleled ease of access to information through the internet, the ubiquitous nature of personalised techonology (ipod, mobile phone, pda, etc, etc) and of the individualistic nature of things. "maybe, we're Generation I" he said.
"Generation I" - I thought, I must put that on the blog - great thought: great phrase, very apt. The Generation that has grown up assuming internet and mass media, the generation that can get information on what's playing in cinema's in every major capital city as easy as finding out what's playing at the local, the children of the information revolution.
Generation I - the generation who believe that public transport is for the poor, who watch movies and are disappointed when you can tell that the alien is just a CGI figure, for whom communication is instant N ritn in txt so u cn c wht they R sayin str8 away (except in the states - where text is only just catching on) and who believe that the future is both terribly bleak and amazingly glittering with technological possibilities.
Gen X are essentially shallow cynics. Gen I essentially believe the world is there for them. The move from X - Y - I is not that shocking; its a natural outworking of the values of the previous generations. Neither is the thought of Generation I original - at least one other person has given it some thought and come up with the same idea (albeit for marketing reasons).
The issue is that this is the generation who are now occupying the universities and colleges of New Zealand (and elsewhere around the world). How do we proclaim the gospel to a generation who genuinely believe that the world is there for their benefit? They think the information about Jesus is just more information to be filed in 'world religion'; they believe that technology is the way to deal with poverty, ecology and the human capacity for wickedness (e.g. enough survellence will stop terrorism) and they think primarily in the "I" (everything from music, clothes and food all the way through to religion, morality and truth depends on how I like it - the i-pod is an icon of the age as well as a piece of technology).
There is nothing new under the sun - but there is a challenge to be taken up afresh.
My hunch - confront them with the One who does not lack information of any kind and who understands the human heart from the inside out and is not impressed with technology on any thing or anyone; proclaim the One who deals with the human heart and judges between conscious thought and hidden motivation and finds all lacking in moral fibre and call them to turn away from their radical and self-confident self-centredness and to come to the one who declares "I AM THAT I AM" (Ex 3.14) and who has made Himself known in Jesus who declares that "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one come to the Father except through me" (John 14.6)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written,
“The righteous shall live by faith.”