Greatest Generation

There has been a massive call to arms, as of late, to be servant leaders in our communities. I have heard and overwhelming response in wake of Obama's election by people who feel called to serve.

I'm not sure I buy it.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE this idea of service to others and trying to get out of our consumer-based, me-first mentality. But is a change really happening?

I was fascinated by a friend of my recently who was volunteering with the United Way for a soup kitchen project. My buddy just turned 30, isn't married, and to me, seemed an unlikely character to offer his time this way. I don't mean that as insult, only that I don't see this sort of selflessness around me very often. He was serving because he wanted to help. It wasn't to impress someone, to meet and obligation, or to meet a girl...he was just serving because there was a need.

Does the Gen X/Millennial gen serve in the same way their grandparents did in the oft quoted times when "life was harder, people were more connected, and the world needed them?" Do we serve more? I want to believe we respond to the call to be the hands and feet of love in the world, but I seem to doubt.

Help my cynicism and correct me on this one.


watchman said...

Good thoughts.

I believe our generation(s) for all its selfishness and egomania really is a more sacrificial and concerned generation. On the other hand, I think our cynicism makes us less inclined to respond well to the patriotic calls of our leaders, like our grandparents may have.

I think Vietnam taught us a lot about the dangers of that, and to a lesser extent, Iraq. Other things have caused a disillusionment as well - political scandal, consequences of our excess, etc.

I continue to believe than when it comes down to individuals helping individuals, our generation is custom made for serving one another. However, the means by which we incorporate such service will need to be very different.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, people don't give, they buy.

Anonymous said...

Did I help your cynicism enough?

Brian said...

I like what Cor...er I mean Watchman is saying. The glut of media has exposed far more fake in our generation that any other. This allows cynicism to creep in. The OmniMedia has also allowed us to see what is going in Africa, Asia, and America. It infuriates us (which it should). We are inundated with the poor, AIDs, and starvation ALL THE TIME. We think it'll never end (which it won't...Jesus own words) but we feel as if no one is doing anything about it to even help one person out.

Watch old news broadcasts from the 1940s, 50s and early 60s. Happy go lucky, all is well, car in the driveway, chicken in the oven, the American dream. Then the 60s and we have JFK saying "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" That was said over 40 years ago!!!!He then is shot, his brother is shot, LBJ and Vietnam, Watergate and trust is gone.

You realize every President any of us 31 and under have had has been embroiled in scandal?! Some took the fall themselves and some were able to parlay the blame on someone else.

So I agree with Corey, however I can't say for certain that our generation is any better or worse at serving one another. Obama quoted Scripture (put away childish things) to chide those of us who have only made decisions to benefit ourselves and offer no sacrifice for others or future generations. I was very impressed that he had the guts to say that, Jimmy Carter was run out of office for saying something similar. So there is definitely the perception that our generation is horrible at sacrifice, service, and volunteering.

Regardless, don't give up and don't let cyncisim be a reason to feel like you offer nothing. People are going to use and abuse....they always have (think back to It's a Wonderful Life, there were crooked, greedy, misers even then, back during the "Greatest Generation") but Jesus reminds us that whatsoever you do the least of humans, you do the same to him....I know it ain't always easy, but that should be enough to keep on keeping on.

watchman said...

brian, you almost revealed my secret identity! How dare you, sir!

Also, hi!

Brian said...

Sorry Cornel......oops dang it almost again

So, hi, what's been going on?


In order to live man must believe in that for which he lives.
- Huston Smith
unTapped is a conversation about faith and spirituality. There are many people frustrated by being forced to think of faith in the same old patterns, and would prefer to explore spirituality in different ways.

Anything goes here. No matter where you are or who you are, we want to hear from you. Feel free to join in the conversation!

You can also join us in person, every Thursday night at Short's Brewing Company in Downtown Bellaire, MI.