Through the Waters is the blog of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Christian vocation ministries. Because the ministry of Christian vocation affirms the need for all baptized Christians – including Presbyterians - to identify and claim their call to discipleship in each decision and life choice, this blog is designed to serve as a resource for youth and young adults, as well as those in ministry with them, to assist the Holy Spirit in God’s movement in this journey through the waters. Take some time to read and think about your own responses to the questions posed here. For additional resources, we suggest that you visit our website.
As a child I remembered being able to spot those adults who still claimed pieces of childhood. They were the ones I wanted to spend time with because they hadn’t seemed to have lost the joy. They sat on the floor, jumped at the chance to play a board game, and just seemed to enjoy the simple things. In my view, they hadn’t totally given into the pressures of adulthood, or at least, they could still move seamlessly into the delight of their younger lives. As I headed toward adulthood, I was determined to be one of those adults – one of the fun ones!
This past week, I was hit with reality. While I may still enjoy the fun, I’m not as young as I imagine myself to be. I was a part of a two-day meeting related to what the church can mean for young adults. It’s a big topic of conversation these days. While it may have been spurred on by the realization that there is a generation missing in many of our congregations, there are many discussions and movements occurring that involve genuine listening with a true care for both the church and the millennials for whom the experience of church may be different.
I looked around the room and felt comfortable. I was with trusted colleagues; some I had established relationships with and others were new to the conversation. The subject of music came into the conversation and, suddenly, just like that – I was old. I still sit on the floor (but for shorter spans). I still run to a board game (if I don’t have some work to do on the computer). I still gravitate toward the simple things. But, well, I’m not a millennial. Evidently, my music of choice seals the deal.
So, does this mean I have to face up to the fact that I cannot understand the generations who come after me? Do I need to take myself out of these conversations and just settle into my “adult” responsibilities? I sure hope not! God’s people are not of one ilk. We are all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. Maybe “fun” isn’t the be all and end all. We come to appreciate and love the qualities each holds – even if they can’t fully grasp the glories of 80’s music.
While I’m not sure what genre of music Jesus would have on his iPod, he modeled the importance of listening and learning from each other. He did not surround himself entirely with those of his own age group, nor did he shun the attitudes and beliefs of those of a different generation. And our gift is that there are more generations alive today than ever before. We have an opportunity to listen and learn from even more diversity. . Let’s see where God is moving!
How can you surround yourself with those in generations other than your own?
What do you have to share and what can you learn from those in other generations – older and younger?
What does the church have to share and what can it learn from those in many different generations?