“The loosening of the marriage bond, that is the gradual return to a temporary union made and broken by mutual consent…reverts to what it was at first…The social vision…returns to regard the present only. Pride in the past, responsibility for the future, both disappear. And when a generation arrives which has known no sterner discipline, but which spends its early years in an atmosphere in submission to impulse, it does not add one whit to what has gone before, but, sinking into unrelieved lethargy, ekes out its meagre existence in the grip of forces which it is no longer able to control. Its energy sapped by its own indulgence, its vision reduced to a single dimension, it finds that it can no longer cope with the ultimate causes of things, and there comes a loss of affirmation, a failure of nerve, a denial of the gods, and a despondent fear of the future.”
(J.D. Unwin, “Monogamy as a Condition of Social Energy,” The Hibbert Journal, vol. 25, no. 4, 662-77, 1927)
Where are the Millennials headed?
W. Bradford Wilcox wrote a summary piece about a recent study done by the Pew Research Center. Here’s the link to the Pew report: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/03/07/millennials-in-adulthood/. Wilcox is a sought after sociology professor at the University of Virginia. He has published two books and numerous articles on issues affecting the family, marriage, and society. Rather than inject his view on the data, Wilcox allows the Pew Report to speak for itself.
There are some alarming trends amongst the Millennial demographic. Three areas jumped out at me in Wilcox’s summary of the Pew Report: 1.) 26 percent of Millennials are married whereas the previous Boomer generation registered in at 48 percent in the same survey back in 1982; 2.) 47 percent of births to Millennial women occurred outside of marriage; and finally, 3.) only 19 percent of Millennials say that most people can be trusted. What do these percentages means in the long run?
My personal take is that the word trend is a misnomer. These are set realities that culture and society must deal with for the next several decades. In their defense, the Millennials inherited moral confusion from the Boomer Generation with the sexual revolution. The Millennials are paying the price for the sins of their parents. They are a fatherless and motherless generation, which accounts for the waywardness of this demographic. Children without the loving presence of a father and mother lack the internal fortitude to navigate culture and society as competent adults.
Many Millennials grew up in homes, which collapsed under dysfunctional marriages. This leads to a natural objection against marriage as a viable option. Dysfunctional marriages lead to dysfunctional families and in several cases single-parent homes due to divorce. What do the Millennials have to look forward to over the next forty to fifty years? Having a vision and a mission for one’s personal life helps to sustain one through dark and stormy seas. The adage, and this to shall pass, only has weight if it has been modeled and instilled in the younger generation.
The hope for the Millennial generation is Jesus, who is both the Great Physician and the Good Shepherd. He offers the hope of healing from a dysfunctional past, the hope of clearing away a foggy present, and the hope of setting a course for the future. The good news of Jesus Christ is what the Millennials need, and ironically, it is the one thing that they are rejecting. One of the toughest tasks for the church in the 21st Century has to do with witnessing and ministering to a generation, who has access to everything via the social media except the one thing that they need most: resting securely in their identities as men and women.