There is, by the nature of culture, always a gap between the younger and eldergenerations within a society. The arts have almost always been the first to pick up onthis reality whether it is Bob Dylan noting, “Come mothers and fathers throughout theland and don’t criticize what you can’t understand. Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly aging. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand for the times they are a-changing.” or Dar Williams with the simple plea, “Teenagers, kick our butts.” However it is named, there is little reason to question the gap that exists. That being said, in this time in history and in this place in the world, there can be little doubt that the previous generation has totally let down their children’s generation and the time has come for those of us of the children’s generation to cast off the absurd expectations of our parents and live in radically different ways. That casting off should begin in the place that has the potential for the most radical change, the church.
First, dear sisters and brothers, let me talk a bit about the manner in which the previous generation has let down the younger. Within the church, the older generation, keenly aware of their own mortality and their impending loss of life and power, has sought to codify the movement of the Spirit within the doctrines and dogmatic assumptions of history. Religion, rather than being the cheerful work of moving with the Spirit to better bring about the Realm of God in this broken world has become a barrier and a burden to those who practice it. Rather than being a time of celebration and inclusion, those in the older generation have increasingly walled off the distinction between the sacred and the secular until the only one’s allowed in the door must look and believe painfully like everyone else
in the room.