The Challenges of a New Generation
"Generation after generation stands in awe of your work"
Psalm 145:4 from the Message Bible
I have the privilege of working with a variety of young adults each week. As a pastor and coordinator of a teen clinic, I have been taking time to prayerfully watch, and to learn. I guess because I am getting older (or as I prefer to say, more mature), I naturally think of legacy and the imprint that my own generation has left upon the Earth. The best way of understanding the legacy of a generation is to look at the character and callings of its children.
Young adults today face a bewildering assortment of challenges and struggles today. Much of their struggles today are inherited from my generation, although the same goes for many of the privileges that they enjoy as well. Every generation will shape the next.
I wanted to briefly describe a few specific challenges that young adults face that will define their legacy, as I feel that many are unaware of the difficulties young adults face.
1. How do young adults develop healthy sexuality when literally saturated with unhealthy sexual messages? Weekly, I talk to young adults who are involved in risky sexual relationships. Abusive, degrading, marginally consensual, sex that does not build or accentuate intimacy, but simply perpetuates feelings of shame or dominance. How will young adults understand what healthy sexuality is, when their parents abandoned them at record rates and have had the most disfunctional marriages in the history of America. They have few models of healthy sexuality.
2. How do young adults develop healthy spirituality when disenfranchised with the institutions that were supposed to represent God? Young adults are quite adept at seeing through things. The Catholic Priest scandel has had a huge effect in many circles on the ability for young adults to trust anything even remotely called "church". Churches that focus on the superficial such as money, irrelevent theological doctrines, and self-righteousness are seen for what they are. Young adults are leaving the church in record numbers, but genuinely have a hunger and thirst for authentic spirituality, but just have never seen it modeled in the religious institutions in which they are part.
3. How do young adults develop a healthy vocation when they are vastly undereducated and vastly under-resourced? The young adults I see each week have so many barriers toward developing a fulfilling career. They are undereducated and undertrained, and therefore have few opportunities to take advantage of. They have very poor awareness of what foundations are necesssary for economic success. They lack the social capital to negotiate the dizzying array intra-familial, scholastic, socio-economic, and cultural limitations that dominate their lives. Its like they have been sentenced to a life of futility.
I am not saying that there are not young adults with healthy spirituality, sexuality, and vocational development, because there are many. However, relatively speaking, they are dwarfed by those who are truly struggling.
Please take time today to pray for the young adults in your sphere of influence and ask God how he can solidify your legacy by modeling to others health and wholeness.
May God bless you,
Pastor M Traylor