Millennials: Generation Wuss...

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Vanity Fair may be the most wicked publication in the world. At least I've thought so for several decades now, but foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, you know, and I kinda think if I've made exceptions for Christianity Today and linked to them now and then, I might take the liberty of just this once linking to Vanity Fair. For an article on "Generation Wuss." Michael Foster pointed me to this piece by Bret Ellis, forwarding this paragraph...

Anxiety and neediness are the defining aspects of Generation Wuss and when you don’t have the cushion of rising through the world economically then what do you rely on? Well, your social media presence: maintaining it, keeping the brand in play, striving to be liked, to be liked, to be liked. And this creates its own kind of ceaseless anxiety. This is why if anyone has a snarky opinion of Generation Wuss then that person is labeled by them as a “douche”—case closed. No negativity—we just want to be admired. This is problematic because it limits discourse: if we all just like everything—the Millennial dream—then what are we going to be talking about? How great everything is? How often you’ve pressed the like button on Facebook? The Millennial site Buzzfeed has said they are no longer going to run anything negative—well, if this keeps spreading, then what’s going to happen to culture? What’s going to happen to conversation and discourse? If there doesn’t seem to be an economic way of elevating yourself then the currency of popularity is just the norm now and so this is why you want to have thousands and thousands of people liking you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler—and you try desperately to be liked. The only way to elevate yourself in society is through your brand, your profile, your social media presence. A friend of mine—also a member of Generation Wuss—remarked that Millennials are more curators than artists, a generation of “aestheticists…any young artist who goes on Tumbler doesn’t want to create actual art—they either want to steal the art or they want to BE the art.”

So if a preacher of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ had a congregation of Millennials and understood them, how would he preach to them? Would he have a tone of voice that sounded like a talk show host? Would he avoid threats? Would he say Hell is our own choice? Would he talk like a prof talks, about God and stuff he's read, both together? Would he be a reassuring presence? Would he avoid words like 'judgment,' 'depravity,' 'submission,' 'discipline,' 'authority,' 'fear,' 'zeal,' 'repentance,' and of course the word 'no.' Rather than pushes and pulls, would he give nudges? Would people listening to him tell everyone how awesome he is, and how awesome they are because they know how awesome he is?

Is that how the Gospel must be preached to Millennials?

The article ends:

...a caustic and withering eye and is also sympathetic. And this is crucial: you can be both. In-fact in order to be an artist, to raise yourself above the din in an over-reactionary fear-based culture that considers criticism elitist, you need to be both. But this is a hard thing to do because Millennials can’t deal with that kind of cold-eye reality. This is why Generation Wuss only asks right now : please, please, please, only give positive feedback please.

Love that: "an over-reactionary fear-based culture that considers criticism elitist."

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

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