Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Millennials

This piece is written a few months ago, as a response to the concerned American Patriot who sees the direction our country is headed and desperately wants to awaken the “next generation” before it’s “too late”. But they do not know how to get the young person’s attention and they wonder if it’s worth the attempt. But before an action plan is formed, it is vital that they understand this generation, its culture, and worldview.

The Millennials 
Written by Amy J. Hawkins, a Millennial from Michigan

Josef Stalin once said: "America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within."

As the Millennial generation, our world is very convoluted. Everything is relative. There are few absolutes and of those that do exist, many are morphed from their original intent. We have been raised on crumbling bedrock of diluted and re-created “truths”. It would not be surprising if we have the most discombobulated worldview since the fall of the Roman Empire.

This young adult generation has grown up in a culture of death. Our understanding of the value of life, from the unborn to the aging senior, is non-existent because we do not value our own. And, sadly, many times death is more appealing than life.

Our worldview is defined by the images on the TV screens and by our peers. We have not been raised with a reliance on God but have been conditioned that humanism is sufficient. The terms like honor, goodness, integrity, morality and character are antiquated and not understood. We are wandering and very lost. Nothing is simple in our lives.

We have seen the breakdown of the traditional family first hand, to the point we barely recognize what that family structure is or why it’s significant. We half-expect our parents’ self-destruction, failures and even successes to be repeated in us. We have barely a thought that God might have a good (or different) plan for us regardless of our heritage or role models.

Fidelity is a foreign word. We’ve seen parents show us it’s easier to leave than work things out. Our families are broken, displaced and patched together again, oftentimes resulting in too much experience of one parent homes. Many of us do not doubt our parent figures’ love of us but they are desperately wounded from their own struggles, let alone able to help us with ours. We live in the greying shadow of parents who have experienced divorce in their own childhood, troubled growing up years or abortions in their own wombs. Brokenness and conflict has leeched onto the spirits of our homes resulting in us serving as walking portraits of unseen and demoralized battlefields.

Many of us have grown up in homes that find us to be inconveniences or something to be controlled and scheduled. Our schools treat us as numbers and our communities and neighborhoods oftentimes find us a bundle of irresponsible attitude and therefore a “problem to be solved”.

In some situations, from childhood we are trained that busy is synonymous with a normal life. Our experiences include a whirlwind of sports, hobbies and experiences. When we grow old, silence and reflective stillness seem so irregular that we run from it every chance we get. We are individual islands, walking around at 90 mph in fashion that sends a message needing a psychology degree to decipher, eyes averted on our phones, ears plugged with the latest noise - all outward attempts to protect ourselves within.

We have little comprehension of time, generations or the fruitfulness of understanding history. We are raised among generations that don’t talk about their experiences, observations or reflections. We ‘kind of’ remember when abortion was a rarity, divorce a scandal and Playboy a naughty word. But our lives are void of those who take the regular moments to tell us stories and lessons learned, teach us the truths that need remembering, or to ask us questions and listen to discover our hidden potential.

We also are confused by the principle that sacrifice leads to reward. And we do not fully understand the military’s role in our lives.  The fact that freedom is not free, that evil must be fought and that defense must be a priority is lost on us.

We do not recognize perversion as it has become our reality. We find amusing the things God despises and therefore think nothing of compromising lifestyles. Lust, drinks and drug induced highs are euphoric moments that move us from our reality into something that seems more bearable and appealing. We’re taught to experiment with everything and everyone without limit, hardly looking toward the consequences.

We have watched old systems fail not only for ourselves but for our communities: marriages, peer groups, political parties, education institutions, and foster care, prison or government programs. Our trust is hesitant and temporary; our walls of defense are high; and unconditional faithfulness, while desired, is more-so not realistically expected.

Sadly, America’s young adults are not cultivated or equipped for Divine excellence but instead taught satisfaction with secular mediocrity. We are not entrusted with a vision or shown how to obtain our dreams. Success has been defined to us in terms of money, accomplishments, relationships and sex appeal. We are not around others who noticeably model Godly living standards, therefore how would we know they are worth obtaining?

Education is a social club, not an institution worth serious pursuit. Thoughts of content and substance aren’t necessary. We can use acronyms and “tweets” to communicate the messages we want to get across so why use the art of conversation? Technology is equivalent to oxygen. Our self-expression comes in many different forms. We are not taught to live with long term mindsets. Life for us is in the here and now. Patience is not a virtue. As a “microwave generation”, anything more than thirty seconds is too long. We are spoon fed philosophies by professors, while intentional critical thinking is not encouraged. 

We expect things to be given to us, relishing more in the life of careless beach babes than ambitious scholars or entrepreneurs; the idea of hard work seems an inconvenience; and there is no comprehension of running out, thanks to parents’ generosity, credit cards and the government’s enabling means.

Some of us have ideas but we don’t know where to start. And we are distracted by our obsession to live in others’ realities. Something is never enough, we always want more; our thirst is quenched by the purchase power; and government is already our default for provider and salvation. If we can get out of it we will; if we can’t, we’ll do the minimal to get by.

The commercials and talking heads tell us we are the answer: we can take over the world, solve issues of poverty and mass hunger, find homes for abused animals and make the planet sustainable. The challenge to “save the day” quickens our spirits for purpose but what we are not told is that their prediction rests on humanism, youth and idealism, dismissing the truth that efforts without God will leave the same tasks to the next generations that follow. And we will be left with the same emptiness as when we started.

Why don’t these bold voices mention that nothing but God will complete us? 

I am grieved at the fact that my generation cares more about those in another country than they do about those in their backyard. And I am ashamed at their unabashed attempt to demonize America. My peers are so painfully blinded by what’s not true that when an accurate account of history is put before them, it is blasphemed.

As a young and middle age adult, I am so very disappointed in our leaders whether in our churches, elected offices, universities, political parties or even families who oftentimes insult our intelligence and potential as young adults and lead us away from the truth. In our formative years, everything has been skewed and now as young adults we live within a twisted worldview, leaving us dangerously mis-led and out of balance.

My generation is reaping the consequences of the church’s faulty translations. And Americans of all age groups have overlooked the connection between God and morality and economic and cultural well-being. We - especially my generation - have detached the idea that beliefs, words and behavior have consequences. And, delightfully unaware, we suffer in the quake of moral absence.

The safest and most grounded place for us should be in the church. But, it oftentimes seems today’s church is gravely mis-led, as they do not exude the power and truth of the Gospel, but peddle a false idea of its comfort, ease and benefits. In the church, if we are there at all, we are encouraged to believe in God, but not to surrender to His Lordship or acknowledge our need for a Savior or rely on the God of Power. We are not presented with the truth that there is a Divine Destiny for our lives; that a Heroic and Loving God yearns for a relationship with us or the stability of law versus grace is necessary for true wholesome living.

And of grave concern is what the radical Muslim agenda is attempting to do to our country, how we have been infiltrated from within, and how their strategy continues a fast and subtle encroachment from every side. Sadly, I see the ignorance of my peers, oblivious to the presence of evil, denying that “anyone” would intentionally target and attempt to destroy our way of life and freedoms.

My generation is wandering, hurting, and even unconsciously feeling the repercussions of those missing from our generation (the 53 plus million aborted). We’ve been dumbed down, deceived and duped. We are medicated, wounded, manipulated, pre-defined, alone, distracted, broken, hopeless and lost. We need help.

Why doesn’t the older generation understand: the help we need does not include giving us life on a silver platter? We do not need more coffee shops and lattes or more incredible tools of technology. We do not need more “green” messages, catchy songs or twisted movies to attempt to solicit our attention and give us purpose and life. We don’t need parents for best friends; we need parents who establish guidelines riddled with mercy and forgiveness.

We do not need permission to surrender to our base humanity therefore eliminating all moral, respect and honorable boundaries under the mis-understood idea that we need ‘freedom to be ourselves.’ We do not need to be coerced into action, or coddled for fear of discomfort. We don’t need unfettered permission.

What do we need? We need truth. We need healthy families. We need righteous relationships. We need to observe and experience character, integrity and morality. We need boundaries, balance and consequences. We need help confronting our guilty hearts and assistance in unraveling the web of lies we’ve come to know as reality. We need someone to listen to us. We need someone to tell us we are beautiful and handsome and that our identity and worth must not be defined by the culture but by a Holy God.

We need help turning off the noise and learning to not be afraid of confronting our vulnerabilities with a Redeeming God. We need to feel safe and accepted. We need help “getting out” of our cultural, ancestral and peer groupthink. We need to know God rejoices in us not works against us.

We need healing, restoration and forgiveness. We need to know there’s nothing wrong with us! We need the relentless pursuit of unconditional love. We need silent support and public praise; we need to know our parents are proud of us and that we are not the ones who have messed up their lives. We need perspective. We need older people who will be resolved to invest in us. We need to be able to recognize goodness and see there is something more appealing than bequeathing life to our sinful nature. We need to know we’re not alone and that there is Someone worth living for.

Those with liberal agendas use bold and voracious attempts to claim our minds, hearts, spirits and souls. They might be winning the airwaves, our attention and the conversation but they are not winning our spirits. Deep down inside we know that something is still amiss.

Obviously not all of us fit into these depictions. But I think most of us have encountered more than one of these lies and wrestled with these battles of a sinful nature.

I fear we are in the day that Stalin hoped for: as a generation, our patriotism is waning, morality is lacking and spirituality is muddied. This status report applies to my generation but also to those preceding, let alone those who are watching and following us. I want my generation to cherish America and not dismiss it as an entitlement or a worthless cause. But most importantly, I want my generation to recognize what light is and come to the revelation that they are standing in deep darkness and, with the Help of a Savior, to then embrace their God-ordained destiny and purpose on this earth.  

In light of the despair I observe, the grief I feel and the agony for my generation I work to expose, I am resolved to rely on the God of Hope. And I know based on history, even with only a remnant, this nation can be restored. This can also be true about a generation.

With revelation of a Mighty God, and repentance towards His Principles, I am confident that America is not done, that we can do better, that my generation can become the second Greatest Generation. But the question of so many conservatives, including my own heart, remains: Where do we go from here? How do we reach the younger generation? And who will listen to those of us who “get it”?

There are a small few of us as millennials who want to serve as translators of three worlds: we appreciate the past, recognize the danger of the society we’re living in today and yearn to turn things around for tomorrow’s history books. We have one hand gripping on the truth of yesteryear, trying in the midst of this whirlwind of a culture to understand the truth of today, and with the energy that is left attempting to plant seeds for the future while hunkered down fighting for our lives. And sometimes it feels like we are losing.

If leaders took time to help us process all of the afore mentioned, understand our culture, determine how to translate the never changing absolute standards into language we understand, they might find the next American greats. The future George Washington Carvers, Ben Franklins, Harriet Tubmans, and Abigail Adams are diamonds in the rough waiting to be discovered.

Please help me awaken my generation so that Josef Stalin’s dream does not come true. I do not want the founding fathers' America to die. The agenda and marching orders of the 21st century's Stalins must not win. I do not want to lose more of my generation mentally, spiritually and physically. Please do not give up on us.

Too much blood has been spilled and sacrifice made for me not to do my part in fighting to save our freedoms and preserve this country.  So, with God’s help and examples of leadership like yours and many others, I will continue to stand my ground with resilience and not surrender my blessed and free America.

Gratefully, your fellow patriot, servant and friend,

Amy J. Hawkins

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