Never formally studied "Generational Studies," but I've participated in workshops put on by the experts. It's interesting from the standpoint of history, which I have studied formally, because there are trends in history, and in generational studies, you see the trends. One such trend is fairly easy to see: Each generation believes the one following it is fraught with issues and has problems - namely weaker, perhaps lazier, has it easier, and falling away from the mores and culture we knew. Each generation says that about the next.
I look at a picture, the only picture I have, of my grandfather, Lewis Farris, my mother's dad. He's standing at an oil rig in the 1930s with other men working in the field, his fedora is beaten and tattered and smeared with grease and as are his clothes down to his boots. I've heard a phrase from people who knew that time which I loved, "The rigs were made of wood and the men were made of steel." So, as I think about generations dealing with the newer generation and I look at this picture, I understand it is entirely possible to almost certainty that my grandfather's generation was looked down upon by my great-grandfather's generation. Lewis did not serve in World War I, so there among the generation before him is already a strike. And the rigs used in the 1930s were probably more "modernized" compared to those in the days of Spindletop, so I'm certain he heard from old-timers about how easy working oil rigs had gotten.
Each generation has to learn on its own, it seems, and decide whether or not to see the world the way the generation before it did. Each generation also sees itself as the promise that can deliver the world from the woes it now faces (JFK's "the torch is passed" sentiment).
As we prepare for the Christ, the coming of Christ in Advent and his return, we look at scripture to see how they prepared generations. In Luke 1, God prepares the way for Jesus by preparing the way for John who would teach about the Messiah. God sends Gabriel to tell an aged Zechariah that he and Elizabeth will have a son, and "you will name him John.... and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,... to turn the hearts of fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared." (1:14 - 17)
We've heard this plea before. The nation of Israel needs to turn its hearts toward God is a common theme in the Old Testament, and it is in the beginning chapter of a book in the gospel. What does this mean in our lives? As we bemoan the next generation, its faithlessness and lack of direction, please note that we can say that about ourselves, and that it is our duty to give the gospel to each generation we meet in ways that we have at our disposal. In a season of preparation, our call is to prepare, ourselves and the other generations.
Hope Men's Ministry