The Non-Committed Generation?

Related to my anti-emo folks angst, I’ve been encountering more and more of what I can only call floaters. Folks who drift from thing to thing, taste-testing opportunities and communities, unable to commit or develop roots in anything. They are transitory figures, here one minute, gone the next and thus are hard to count on or invest in.

I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or a (postmodern) cultural thing, but it seems like these folks are easily distracted and nearly incapable of following through on things. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t throw too many stones. I juggle a lot of balls which gives the illusion of non-flightiness when in actuality should I get bored with something, I turn to the next thing. I just keep cycling through the same few things rather than keep finding something new each time.

I wonder if it’s a symptom of the same consumer mentality which has led to church members drifting off to the next charismatic preacher or bigger program, because they come together not to form a community but to be entertained or serviced. How we tend to seek out churches based on who has the best show, where you don’t have to do anything and you don’t have to reveal anything. And too often we, as the church, enables such narcissistic behavior.

Folks who do the flitting thing tend to be one of two camps (typically defined by how generous I’m feeling toward them). On the negative side of the ledger, they are not committed (to much of anything) and foster little sense of connection. They fly by seat of their pants, living for the moment in the most visceral of ways. A lot of their tendencies smack of selfishness, because if something (or someone) more interesting pops up, they’re gone with that breeze.

When I’m feeling a lot less frustrated, I see that often they are simply looking for the right fit for them, sampling different things in order to find out where you fit. They form discrete communities and stray from them with great difficulty. They are “truth in the moment” kind of folks, simply non-linear thinkers who come at life from a different perspective.

Yeah, it’s tough to plan things around types who rarely follow through. At the same time, they recognize that non-commital trait in themselves and there is some guilt about it. I like to look at it this way: their heart is in service, in wanting to join in with Christ’s redemptive mission … they just haven’t found that place, that ministry, that calling which fits them.

We all have that selfish part to us and sometimes working through it means just throwing yourself into something and sticking to it even when you don’t want to … for a time. If only to make it through and develop your perseverance muscles. Sometimes it’s just about finding your place, finding what resonates with you, that place where you can best be plugged in. Until you have a relationship with a place or a people, you aren’t committed to it. On the flip side, unless you commit, you can’t develop a relationship. At some point, someone is going to have to take a risk. So continue sampling and when where you land fits, dig in. You may end up surprising yourself.

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Open Memo to Emo Types

I’m not good with teenagers.

I’m especially not good with twenty and thirty something teenagers, people who are emotionally in their teens but in big people’s bodies. Who carry their high school attitudes and personas long into adulthood. Who wait longer to grow up, get through school, move out, become independent. Who drift through life, unfocused, going from job to job, without a care or responsibility in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I recently let a friend see my journal/collection of poems which I wrote in my early twenties called “A Descent into the Abyss” (*vomits a little in my mouth*), so I was emo before emo was cool. Now emo’s a way of life:

Maybe it’s a matter of us being culturally soft, having no defining event to sweep us up and make us grow up. Our generation has had no Depression (yet), no World War, no Viet Nam. In fact, from my generation on, we’ve encountered little we couldn’t largely avoid.

But life still happens. I’m a grown ass man with grown up responsibilities to my family, my job, and my community. And I have better things to do than wade through what amounts to third grade antics with big people body parts or Twitter/Facebook/Myspace self-created drama.

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If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say “hi”, feel free to stop by my message board. We always welcome new voices to the conversation.