In the last post we looked at worldviews and spent a great deal of time on the postmodern worldview. The next chapter in Mueller’s text is all about how the postmodern worldview is shaping the mission to the youth culture. I particularly like Mueller’s phrase, “A Mission Field Molded by Postmodernity” (81). Before moving forward I want to set out a brief caution: these things that shape this generation are generalizations and not every person falls into them, however, the follow description is consistent.
So, how is our mission to emerging generations shaped?
- They are without a moral compass. The world in which we live is driven by the democratic ideal that the majority can’t be wrong and when it is, it still isn’t. There is no moral center. There is no reference point to any kind of authority that allows for morality.
- This generation is culturally diverse. The world LOOKS very different for your kids than it did for you. Most of you grew up in a homogenous setting where you watched race relations play out at a distance. Your kids live in a time where they face diversity at school and through the internet. For instance my son goes to a school where there are more than ten distinct first languages spoken. Think about that for a moment. Hinduism, Taoism, Islam, and so on, are real religions that he encounters and we encounter with him on a daily basis. They are not plot lines in a book or a movie.
- This cultural diversity built on top of postmodern thought has led to an emphasis on pluralistic tolerance. This is the idea where all belief systems are to be embraced as true and right. The greatest evil in this generation is “to judge”.
- Broken relationships on all levels are more prevalent now than ever before. Consider some statistics:
- Nearly half of all first marriages end in divorce and 60% of second marriages end in divorce
- Since 1970 at least 1,000,000 children a year see their parents divorce.
- Half of all children whose parents divorce are under the age of six.
- 25% of all kids spend part of their childhood in a step-family
- 40% of all amrriages in the 1990s involved one or both people who have been married before
- 10,000,000 single mother homes in the US
- 2, 000,000 singel father homes in the US
- 41 % of co-habitating homes have children under the age of 18
- 44% of adults under 35 have co-habitated.
- This stark reality has led to the a sense of alienation and homelessness that has never before been experienced in the US. The pop star, Pink has written a song that captures this better than most, it’s called Family Portrait.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/?v=_Kwu8kanyFw]
- They are media saturated. MTV’s fine print says it all: “MTV is not a TV channel. It’s a cultural force. People don’t watch it. They live it. MTV has affected the way and entire generation thinks, talks, and buys.”
- This generation is experience and feeling-driven. The hurt and brokenness of the world around them coupeld with the saturation of the media machine has led this generation on a search for good feelings and good times. Consider the different advertising by a cigarret company in the early part of the 1900s: “When faced with a choice, smokers will choose better tobacco.” Compared with Diet Coke’s recent campaign, “Do something with it. Do what feels good.” Things have changed and what people are looking for is very different.
This is quite a bit to get our minds around. I will finish the list next week in part 2.