Connecting to the Culture of this Generation
Earlier this week, Jen and I watched a bit of the Grammys. It was a stark reminder to me of how different the current culture is to the one of my youth.
Most of the Grammy buzz was focused on Queen Latifah who presided over a mass marriage ceremony of 34 gay and straight couples while rapper Macklemore sang his hit song “Same Love”. Latifah quipped, “Whatever god you believe in we came from the same one.” It’s incredibly bad theology but unfortunately it’s a philosophy which many in the popular culture endorse and follow.
Another stark moment came for me when Country newcomer Kacey Musgraves appeared on stage to perform her hit song “Follow Your Arrow.” The song is about how there will always be people who will question you no matter what decision you make. While there is some truth in that, Musgrave’s response is “You’re damed if you do and damed if you don’t so you might as well do whatever you want.” While I wasn’t shocked, I guess I was a bit surprised to hear this ode to Post-modernism and Relativism coming from the Country music genre.
Popular blogger Ed Stetzer posted his thoughts online after the Grammys. Stetzer suggested that we as Christians should seek ways to engage the culture instead of just complaining about the things we don’t like, as we are often apt to do. He also pointed out that the Grammys don’t really reflect the true values of our country. While I agree with Stetzer that we need to find ways to lovingly engage this culture instead of just complaining, I also think that the Grammys are a reflection of what many in our country think and believe and while not necessarily reflective of everyone, it definitely demonstrates how values are trending.
As Jen and I transition to working with Millennials, we’re looking for ways to better understand our culture, particularly this generation known as Millennials. What do they think and believe and why do they believe the things they do? Why are they the least churched generation in our culture and why are they so skeptical of religion and corporate America?
While we still have much to learn, we were able to get some good input yesterday as we attended the Barna Frames event that occurred live here in Orange County. The concept of Frames is to read short books on engaging topics related to our culture in order to be better informed and hopefully better equipped to reach this culture. (see barnaframes.com for more information on the Frames concept)
One of the topics presented was on 20-Somethings. Dr. David Kim spoke on “The New Shape of Young Adulthood.” There was a lot of great information that will be helpful to us as we move forward in working with Millennials.
One of the things Dr. Kim talked about was how many global tragedies and scandals this generation has been exposed to growing up that are unprecedented compared to previous generations. From the terror of 9-11 and school shootings, to numerous political scandals as well as extreme examples of corporate greed such as the Enron scandal, it’s no wonder that this generation is extremely skeptical of everyone and everything. In fact, Dr. Kim mentioned that 1 in 4 Millennials are likely to fact check a sermon on their phone while sitting in the pew!
Yet for all this generation has been exposed to, Kim says they are less sarcastic than the previous “Seinfeld” generation. They are generally more hopeful and that is a reason for us to have hope!
We have the greatest hope ever in the message of the gospel. Pray with us and for us as we seek to present the true message of hope to this generation of 20-somethings!