Do Boomers Have Anything To Say To Millennials?

This Generation Isn’t Going Down the Tubes!

Piling on a few years of age seems to change your brain. I’m not sure if it augments it or addles it, but the years sure confuse it. For instance, here’s something I’ve wondered.

In the 1950s a crooner named Pat Boone warbled, “On a day like today, we pass the time away writing love letters in the sand.”

Then when I was a teenager the Marvellettes were so unhappy that their boyfriend hadn’t written, they sang to the postman,

“So many days you passed me by

You saw the tears standin’ in my eye

You wouldn’t stop to make me feel better

By leavin’ me a card or a letter. *

And the Boxtops didn’t have time for a fast train so they jumped on an airplane because “my baby, done wrote me a letter.” *

My question is: “What do young people today do, to express their everlasting love? No one writes letters anymore.  

If you say they tweet, text or email, we’re in trouble. How can you utter undying devotion in 150 characters or less? Can you say stupid things that you think are romantic on Snapchat? Do you want everyone to see that? Remember, your mama may be lurking in the background.

There you are though. That’s what the world has come to.

Did Cavemen Write Letters?

Wait, though? How did cavemen express their undying love? They didn’t write letters. Maybe they chiseled sweet nothings on the wall of their cave. Or native Americans two thousand years ago? I guess a lot of people have figured out a way to wax mushy without letters.

There is more than one way to get the girl.

Which brings me to another idea. Maybe some of the things that puzzle me about churches today aren’t a matter of right and wrong. It’s just another generation with another way of expressing itself. And if some of the things I see aren’t the best, my generation sure had it share of stuff like that.

I’ll have to confess to saying, “Half the evangelical church is going to be deaf in five years because of the volume of the music.” I’ve joked about a worship leader introducing himself like this: “I’m a worship leader, I write music, I write music, I write music, I write music, I write music, etc.”

Back in ye olden times when a line of music was repeated continually it was because the phonograph needle was stuck in one place. I’ve suspected that some worship leaders needed to be unstuck.

I may also have complained about the hall being so dark I couldn’t find my place, that the worship songs were sung in a key that no one but a professional could sing them, and I might have had a few other complaints. (note: none of these is true of my church, in case my pastors are reading this).

I also complained about the ultra-light scriptural content of some of the songs … until I started looking closely at some of the old hymns and Gospel songs and realized that the good old days weren’t always better. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that the old Southern Gospel song that people liked to cry along with, Precious Memories, didn’t even mention God! Mama, yes, and plenty of nostalgia. Momma and daddy prayed briefly.  

But, God must have been in the verse that got left out.

You know what, though? I’m willing to put up with things I don’t particularly like, if it those songs reach my children and grandchildren. They might not be turned on by, “I’ll Fly Away,” or get teary eyed singing, “Come ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish your mind.” But all of us can be touched by singing,

“What a beautiful Name it is

What a beautiful Name it is

The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What a beautiful Name it is

Nothing compares to this

What a beautiful Name it is

The Name of Jesus.*

I heard a message Sunday morning that I consider prophetic. The pastor spoke of Caleb’s generation. Caleb’s name meant “dog,” but this wasn’t pejorative. It could also translated as faithful, devoted, whole hearted, bold, brave.

He was a warrior dog, meaner than a junkyard dog for those who  stood between him and what God had promised him.

Caleb was itching to fight giants when Moses lead them to the cusp of the Promised Land. But everyone else except his buddy Joshua and their leader Moses trembled before these monsters.  That generation turned from the promise and wandered 40 years in the desert until the cowards had all died and a new generation of desert warriors had grown up. Caleb and Joshua were old but they were still looking for a fight.

One of the first heroes of this desert generation was Caleb’s little brother Othniel. His name meant, “Lion of God.” But, do you know who mentored that lion? That “warrior dog,” Caleb.

The pastor said he felt like the Millennial generation (ages 21-38, more or less) was going to be the channel for a great move of God but he cautioned the Baby Boomers (old dudes and dudettes like me), “Some of you have put the baton down. Some of you have dropped it. You need to pick it back up.”

He challenged the Boomers who had seen a move of God to help the Millennials who had heard of what God had done in the past but hadn’t always seen it. Caleb had seen it. He challenged “the Lion of God,” to live it in his generation, to take down that city full of giants.

And the young man did.

Maybe God hasn’t called us to show the younger generations how to dot “i’s” and cross “t’s”. We may never like their music (though if you tone down the bass guitar and drums and turn up the lights just a little, I love a lot of it). But, he has called us to love the generations following us, show them how to pray, show them how to walk in faith, full of the Spirit. God wants us to help them learn to tear down giant strongholds.

Because there sure are a lot of strongholds that need to be torn down. There is an inheritance to claim.