Sunday, November 29, 2009


I've just started reading a book about Black Metal. I understand that it has a fair amount to say about Satanism, paganism, church burnings, and the part the Christian church played in the rise of Metal. I haven't got past the introduction and already I'm thinking along those lines. To my non-Christian friends who read this post (and I hope you do), please recognize that this rant is double-barreled—at western society as a whole, and the church in particular.

Every year more young, maturing, thinking adults enter society.
Long enough observers of the status quo, they have ideas ranging from improbable to impossible—what's wrong, how to fix it, how to force change.
At any point, this group of newly-minted citizens are in the minority. The majority have lived long enough to realize the benefits of leaving well enough alone, even though they were young once.
Yesterday's hippies are today's CEOs. The revolutionary has morphed into a republican. The anarchist is now a capitalist. The placard-waving, solidarity-singing protester now waves his nation's flag and sings about the value of his RRSPs (after parking his BMW in his 3 car garage).
But his kids have taken up the torch he allowed to drop.
Their ideas may be improbable (get rid of carbon-based vehicles) or impossible (reverse global warming), but they aren't wrong. In fact, they are often the only source of anything new or hopeful.
At best, society lags behind.
The church is often even worse. Instead of leading the way being current with present-day thought and philosophy, it seems we have to work hard to only be one generation behind.
We have solidified our emphasis on capitalism and personal wealth when the rest of the world is preaching sustainability and our responsibilities within the global community.
New adults value fair-trade, renewable energy and open dialogue. They abhor racism, sexism and other age-old stereotypes. They like the color green and recycling. They have given up on politics and religion.
Meanwhile, where are we? Our churches or filled ( or more likely only partly filled) with comfortable seniors and suburbanites. Well-fed and well-dressed, safe in the security of their gated communities and pension plans.
It's time we as not-so-young adults gave more than a passing glance at our young prophets. They are more observant and astute than we might expect or admit. Even if some of their potential solutions aren't viable, their perception of the problems is accurate. If we listen to them, we will probably hear the voice of God calling us to justice and community, reminding us of the importance of people over things.

(The preceding paragraphs contain a lot of generalizations. They are not true in every case, BUT THEY ARE TRUER THAN YOU THINK!)


Randi Jo :) said...

really enjoyed ur comment on "Losing my religion" blog :) responded there. have added u to my blog roll. thanks! :)

Al said...

Thanks, Randi Jo. It's great to have one more person that understands this weird and wonderful journey we are in the middle of. See ya around!

Comrade Black said...

I think you missed one tiny detail in your synopsis

those ideas you mentioned as being improbable, or even impossible are met with a reality of not changing being just as, if not more improbable.

If we for example do not stop driving carbon based vehicles ( like the one you give me rides in, or like the one that ran me over) and do not do shit all about global warming, we will not be able to continue to live at all much longer. there is only so much damage the ecosystem can take before it collapses. and I don't think we want to find out how much that is, any more than we wanna give up the comforts of heated motorized vehicles, especially in the winter...

Al said...

Thanks, Comrade. You are certainly a perfect example of the young prophets I am talking about.
Technology has been our saviour, and also our destroyer. We have become so comfortable with what it provides that we don't want to pay the price of losing that comfort in order to survive. It seems we would rather kill ourselves just so we can remain comfortable.

Luke said...

we're trying to embrace this idea of youth leadership here at LTS with the program called Leadership NOW. it's fantastic and has just been awarded some 900 thousand grant from the Lily Endowment.

i'm always amazed at the cycle of selling out. mimetic ways always trump our idealism. the church has been praying for a generation to stand up and do something about it... now that it's here, it doesn't know what to do. the institution of the church will fall if this cycle keeps going, even though it's mission and ideals will live on. i think i'm okay with this.

great rant Al, keep'em coming!

Al said...

It's a scary thought to let the inexperience of youth loose on the world. What if they haven't thought it through and it fails completely?
I suppose it wouldn't be any worse than some of the things the 'wisdom' of experience has tried and failed.
I think in our present setting, it's not only another new generation coming along with another set of new ideas, but there is the whole culture shift from modernism. That makes it even more foreign to the rest of us.

Luke said...

we won't know unless we try. the status isn't quo... i'd rather go with inexperience than entrenched interests. but that's me.. still shake'n off modernism.. value'n it for what it brings to the table but wanting and understanding that there is more to the picture. good stuff man. i myself advocate for bringing tradition along side us, but not as the filter through which we see all things. experience, reason, and THEN scripture and tradition. or some formulation thereof.

Comrade Black said...

As for the so called comforts of technology, I don't know that I fully agree... You see, we think we are more comfortable, but most of us never lived in an unidustrailized society to compare it to, never mind a uncivilized society. Personally I don't know how to live without technology. At the same time I realize the average person today works over 30 hrs a week (and some over 60hrs) to provide for what they think are basic needs, food, clothing, leasure and housing, as well paying bills and buying things they think they need.
Unindustrialized people, and even more so uncivilized people (I am using civilized in the sense of those living in large scale permentant settlements, aka cities) worked far less, and some scholars such as the late Freddy Perlman even argued that most of what they did could not be considered work at all by what we think of as work today, because work and play were intricately connected as just part of your daily activities. Either way many anthropologists have stated the so called "primitive" peoples only spent 4 hrs a day at most to get their basic needs met.

as far as the youth and inexperience, I think that with age comes a different type on inexperience, along with an arogance many cary too (not all) that says they know better... but what they don't understand is the world they are living in is radically different than the one they grew up in, so many of the things they feel they understand have changed. I am only 29, and can not tell you what going to school is like now, cause I know what I experienced is different. when I was young you got beat up for having a mohawk, now no one cares... as one of many examples.

Al said...

Comrade, I think the point you make in your last paragraph is very important. Things are shifting very rapidly, and the only way we will come close to sort of keeping up is to listen to those who actually know what's going on. Of course, they don't necessarily realize where us older ones are coming from, so we have to be doing a lot of dialogue with each other in order to make appropriate changes. And dialogue depends on a level playing field, a recognition of each others value and worth.


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