Lindsay Parks, Indiana, PA
Dear young brother and sister:
This letter is being written to you because of a deep care, concern, and interest from our generation to yours. We often hear preachers say at conferences "what is on my heart is primarily for younger Christians." This letter is written with the same heart. Hopefully, it will be tender and loving. Most importantly, it is written with an eye to the future.
Recently, a young assembly Christian was commenting on his generation, after he had attended conference meetings. The comment he made was telling, troubling, and honest. What he said was this: "I look around at the kids in my generation, and except for a few individuals, I donít see any real commitment and very few serious Christians. I wonder about the future." To any assembly Christian who has a heart for assemblies, and especially the young Christians in them, an honest appraisal like this is heartbreaking. What we hope to convey here, at least in a little way, is that many in our generation have a deep and loving interest for your generation, and want to see your future in Godís assemblies bright, strong, positive, and dedicated to the things of the Lord.
Often, there seems to be the feeling that our generation simply does not understand yours. In many ways, we donít. But you may be surprised to know that there are many Christians who pray constantly for you, because many of us freely admit that the world in which you are growing up is totally and terribly different from the one in which we matured. Your generation, labelled "generation X" by the popular media, consisting of those people ages 18-30, has had a remarkable number of cultural, societal, familial, educational, political, and technological differences which have only occurred in the last 30 years, but have affected you differently, for you have been raised with them. Consider the following, which are unique to your generation. Your generation is the first to have grown up...
1. Without prayer, Bible reading, or God in public schools.
2. Without much physical discipline in the home, if at all.
3. Having been taught that physical discipline is child abuse.
4. With AIDS, and the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases.
5. With feminism, and the womenís liberation movement.
6. With the forced acceptance of deviate sexual behaviors.
7. With everything having to be "politically correct."
8. With suicide being one of the leading causes of death in your age group.
9. With greater than 50% of families having only a single parent.
10. With two working parents, leading to decreased family time.
11. With computers, the internet, videos and video games.
12. With essentially no boundaries or rules. (If itís right for me, itís right.)
13. With few political heroes.
14. Without honesty, character, or dependability in government.
15. With the widespread support of abortion rights being a majority issue.
16. With the homefront as battlefield; violence and terrorism a part of life.
17. With a liberal press and media that despises Christians and Christianity.
18. With a rating system for sex, violence, vulgarity, and profanity in what is watched and listened to.
19. With environmentalism; trees and wildlife are far more important than human life. (A redwood, a coyote, and a tree frog are all more worth saving than a human fetus.)
20. With little respect for those older, and their traditions. (Example: this is the first generation where the men consistently wear hats indoors.)
21. With multiculturalism; not "one nation, under God," but multiple ethnic factions.
22. With the widespread introduction of state lotteries, teaching that gambling is a normal and accepted part of life.
23. Living life essentially on your own terms: no accountability or personal responsibility.
24. With most of the information you have learned having been gained by audio/video; this has spawned a generation of non-readers (and raises deep concerns for the future of Bible study).
25. With the pervading emotions of life being irony, cynicism, skepticism, distrust, and hopelessness.
26. With the drug war being miserably lost, and addiction rates the highest ever, because those in high places condone it.
27. With rebellion against authority as generally being the first act of the will.
28. In a society where what is wrong, has quickly become "right", and what is right, is now considered wrong. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan has said so aptly that todayís society, in itsí reversal of moral absolutes, has succeeded in "defining deviancy down.
Wow. An amazing list; very strange, new, sad and troubling. Many, if not all, from our generation have watched in horror as we have seen the steady decay and rot of society and realized with anguish that this is the world in which you have had to grow up. Almost every one of the above characteristics are unique and singular to your generation. Things have not always been this way and you have been forced to grow up in a Satan-controlled environment where you, along with your peers, have been cleverly and sinisterly trained to accept these things as "normal," accepted, usual, customary, and an expected part of everyday life. Now may be a good time for you to thank God for the Christian home in which you were raised. if He was good enough to give you one. Because without the steady and daily influence of Christians in your lives, where might you be now? If you have been saved from an environment where God was not honored nor His Word valued, how much more thankful could you be?
But these things having been considered, by a generation that understands to a degree the difficult world in which youíve been raised, we would like to make a plea to your generation. Again, this is being done out of love, care, interest, and a great concern for the future, should the Lord Jesus delay His return. Along with our prayers for your preservation, safety and growth, we would like to make the following pleas, from our generation to yours.
A PLEA FOR FORGIVENESS
Yes, you read that correctly. We need, first of all, your forgiveness. Scripture tells us to confess our faults to each other, and one of our many has been a lack of consistency, as Christians, in our testimonies before you. Our parents, as a class, were far more consistent in their walk for God, their devotion to the assembly, their living the Gospel and their personal testimony than many of us have been. This may have sent you confusing and mixed signals, and may have lessened your interest in being a consistent Christian yourself. Our plea is to find as many admirable characteristics as you can find in the lives and testimonies of those who have preceded you; but at the same time, we ask your forgiveness for the many times we have stumbled, misled and confused you, because of our inconsistencies.
A PLEA FOR PERSPECTIVE
Your perspective now, as a member of the "younger generation", may be that this phase of your life will go on for a long time. But the truth of the matter may really be that if the Lord tarries, some of you may be placed in positions of leadership in your assembly very soon; From Sunday School teachers, to helping in Bible readings, to needing to come to every meeting prepared to take part, to even shepherd and oversight work. There are some men in their early 30ís who are on assembly oversights now, and just a few years ago, were as you are now. Are you ready spiritually for the challenges and responsibilities that the Lord may have waiting for you just around the corner? If you are not prepared now, when will you become so? Is your perspective of your role in the assembly going to be always as it is now, or is it soon to be much different? Our plea is that you develop future perspective, now. This will enable the Lord to better use you, when the time comes. (Notice; not "if" it comes!)
- To be continued