I wanted to finish up the thoughts about the youth culture in general and the effects of postmodernity (read part one here).
- This generation is suspicious of truth claims. The statisitcs that Mueller presents from the Barna group are alarming in that most “Christian” teenagers do not believe that their faith is based on something “true”. The reality is that “spirituality” is cool, hip, and personal. It’s been mainstreamed.
- The options that this culture has are limitless. Whether it’s places to eat or games to play or lifestyles to live, everything is fair game, open, and reasonable. There is nothing that is not mainstream and normalized at this point in our cultural history. The stark reality is that this generation is almost brought to the place of option paralysis. With too many choices and no authority structure to make those choices from.
- Another part of their reality is the globalized youth culture. Just about everywhere in the world one finds the exported North American youth culture alive and well.
- There is pervasive violence that floods the daily lives of the average person. It is commonplace for students today to be concerned about their safety at school. School shootings on the high school and collegiate level are regular occurrences. Where the country was once shocked by the events of Columbine and Virginia Tech, these kinds of shootings are barely footnotes on the evening news. Bloodshed and violence are everywhere and are normal parts of thier everyday routine.
- This is a generation that is lost in their busy-ness. Many of us remember the days of the sandlot playing baseball and football. However, the youth of today are busy being shuttled from one thing to the next. They are more busy than any generation before them. Most high school kids keep a planner of some sort or have a “helicopter” parent do it for them. There is no space or time to become. Most of the kids today simply exist from moment to moment.
- This generation like those before it is given over to materialism and its trappings. The only difference is that they are more affluent and material goods are easier to come by.
- This is street wise generation. This generation comes face to face with stark reality on a daily basis either through friends or the media. They cannot escape from it. As a result they have learned to set aside naivete and embrace an existential realism and pragmatic view of life.
- In a media driven age, where celebrities rule, appearance is king. Today’s teenager is obsessed with their appearance. This has led to the painful reality of rampant eating disorders as teens try to emulate the photoshop produced images on the magazine covers.
- This is a hopeless and despairing generation. They look around and see no hope for the problems of the world. They are living in an extended economic downturn, they are living with the contant threat of global climate collapse, and they are living in a media saturated world where there is a new apocalypse every couple of weeks.
- This generation is deeply spiritual. They are not seeking orthodox Christianity but they are looking for something outside themselves to provide meaning and purpose.
- They are crying out for redemption. This is the theme that pervades their lives. Look at their movies, music, and books. They all cneter on the theme of redemption.
The next post will look at what culture is and then we will discuss how we engage with it.