September 30, 2003, 4:35 pm
Filed under: uncategorized

A few thoughts for the older “Younger Evangelicals” . . .

One of the things I was thinking about in reflection of this weekend’s unconference, and especially the people who were there, was that there are some folks that are part of this conversation/movement/revolution/cultural shift/emerging church that play a huge role, but may feel as if they’re outsiders. In particular, I’m thinking of the baby boomer aged folks – and let me just say that I hate resorting to that term to classify them.

While the vast majority of their peers (according to physical age) have gone right along with all of the systems of the modern church and have yet to wake up to reality, I’ve met several who I can say with confidence that they “get it.” They see the changes and aren’t scared by them, they’re excited by them. They are eager to learn the new language and think the new thoughts and enter the new conversation. Unfortunately, what I’ve observed in most of them is a hesitation to fully jump in and own the new reality for themselves. I think it might have to do with feelings of alienation with their own generation, and realizing they have more in common with another generation, but they’re unsure whether the younger generation will accept them. They may think that “we” will think of them as wannabes, or has-beens. They may think we will blow them off as irrelevant before giving them a chance to talk in such a way as to show us they aren’t. They may just regret that their generation has made certain mistakes and that they are responsible for their own part in cleaning up the mess left behind. I don’t know – I’m just speculating a bit here.

These may (or may not) be the thoughts running through the minds of some of our brothers and sisters who are farther along life’s journey. The curious thing to me about these thoughts is that for the most part, they don’t square with reality.

I’ve sat in conversations with some “more seasoned” people who I’m convinced think and talk and are passionate in the same way as those of us in the emerging generations. They seem excited about what’s going on, but they feel as though they need to be given permission to enter the conversation. What I’ve observed in myself and my peers, though, is that they don’t need permission at all. In fact, our response tends to be one of excitement, not scepticism. We’re stoked that some people with more life experience and wisdom are actually on the same page with us and are willing to help us along.

Further, there are some major players out there who have paved the way for the emerging church, but still feel like outsiders. They have given us access to one another, facilitated the conversations we’ve been having, and prayed diligently for us. And yet they still seem to feel like outsiders.

If any of this stuff is true, I just want to say to my older friends who “get it” (and even a few of those who don’t), I welcome you into my life, and I’m really glad that you’re there. You have so much to bring to the table. Please don’t be timid about coming alongside us. We appreciate you big time. We don’t discount what you say because you’re from a different generation. We love you.

Just a little rant there . . . one that I really hope is a source of encouragement to some of you out there.


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