12 March 2006

Talkin' bout my generation


Living in Chicago we hear sad news stories quite a bit. Due to drugs and gang warfare "drive-by" shootings take place all too often.

This got me to thinking about how many of us experience much the same in terms of basic intimacy.

We cannot always stop and truly engage. At times we of course can and must. But the real issue I wish to tackle is the matter of common distance that we not only need, but in other points of life need to be rid of! Our deep need is God's love in koinonia.

This is the New Testament Greek word for "fellowship". How can Christians find spiritual, practical fellowship at a deeper level? How can we move beyond superficiality?

Many people are starving for a rich, biblical koinonia that has apparently escaped
them. I suggest that it's all about being physically present with one another, taking time, making the time to listen, talk, interact. All the while, all parties must also learn to truly interact with the Holy Spirit Who creates and moves us to a unity that is as needed as it is refreshing!

Let there be no doubt, getting up close and personal with ANY human being is risky business.

People hurt people and as sure as you've been hurt by others, you've hurt them as well.

I'm convinced that the fear of being hurt, wronged, or simply misunderstood are all reasons many avoid the whole process. But if we choose to walk alone and distance ourselves we are also choosing the very lack of significant relationships... exactly the sort of relationships we're so starved for.

My mother was a beautiful but stubborn and insecure person. She wanted (and mostly lacked) a real sense of security throughout her life due to running from one man to the next. She eventually burned so many bridges- even with her female friends- that she had few if any friends left at the end of her life.

By God's grace she prayed with my wife to receive Jesus just before she died, but it was a sad life she had lived and had clearly chosen for herself. She often said Wendi and I were some of "the only one's" she had left.

There's little mystery why so many people- including sincere Christians- continue hungry and unfulfilled for a koinonia and depth of unity that seems "just out of reach". But it costs. It costs us our independence, time, getting our own way in all things, and it costs us our pride.

Admitting our sins, forgiving those who sin against us, all of this is an absolute must for the sort of depth of relationship I'm talking about.

This is the road God calls us to walk, to live on. There just isn't any other route! Further, it's worth the risk and sacrifice. Many -including this writer- can attest to that.

Don't keep driving by... stop! Continual refusal to do so is quite like pulling the trigger on yourself.

Drive-by relationships are not the solution to our deepest needs. Never were-never will be. ///

The post above by Glenn Kaiser may give you some idea why he so appealed to me during my adolescent years. He has such a frank way of speaking about his own pain and the pain of others and the healing Jesus offers us all. Glenn is the lead singer in Resurrection Band which was my favorite teenage band. Here are some mp3's of him speaking on various topics. Let me add the disclaimer here that we are in complete theological agreement on all matters but Glenn's voice is one that has spoken to me in the past and perhaps it will speak to you in the present.

My teenage years were spent in the "Jesus Movement" and the "Jesus People USA" in Chicago were the leaders of that movement. I even heard Resurrection Band in concert in Meridian once and each month I looked forward to receiving their Cornerstone magazine . You may read the column Cornerstone published when Bob Dylan came out with his Slow Train Comin' album in 1979. Dylan's "Slow Train Comin'" album seemed to indicate he'd become a Christian. It is hard to explain the joy this brought to the hearts of myself and my friends in the Jesus movement. Since then my Christian faith has been enlarged by my life experiences and theological education. I am not the same person I was when I was 16 years old. I love the person I was then and I am at peace with the person I am now.

These reflections about my adolescent religious experience brought me to a listing of "American Generations" that I found so interesting I have pasted it here for your consideration. You may follow some of these links and see if they ring true to your own experience or the experience of other people you know. I wonder what the "generations" list would look like for people who have grown up in Africa or Asia or the Middle East. And I wonder what effect our American generations have had on their lives and vice versa. As our world becomes ever more interconnected and tiny there may come a day when such a list may be entitled "Earth Generations."

American Generations
Term Period
Awakening Generation 1701-1723
First Great Awakening 1730-1740
Liberty Generation
Republican Generation
Compromise Generation
Second Great Awakening 1790-1840
Transcendental Generation
Gilded Generation
Progressive Generation
Missionary Awakening 1886-1908
Missionary Generation
Lost Generation
Interbellum Generation
G.I. Generation
Greatest Generation
American High 1929-1956
Silent Generation
Baby Boomers
Beat Generation
Generation Jones
Consciousness Revolution 1964-1984
Baby Busters
Generation X
MTV Generation
Culture Wars 1984-2005
Boomerang Generation
Generation Y
New Silent Generation
Crisis of 2020 2020-
Jon B.

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