A Changing Of The Guard In America

Maybe you've seen the 'changing of the guard' at Buckingham palace in London. There is also a similar happening in American values and morality taking place right in front of our eyes in less than a decade. We are seeing the kind of sweeping shifts now that took 20 years for the generation before us. From prayer and bible reading in the classroom, the stance on abortion, race relations, how we feel about divorce, television and radio content restrictions, and now the sexual revolution. Many reasons are the cause for these shifts. Here are four of them:

Generational Changes Come Quicker

It used to be that a generation lasted 80 years. The pace of life and culture was analog slow. Then we saw generations slide to about 40 years. Maybe you can remember the first drive thru or even microwaves. Today, we are seeing digital change at a much quicker rate. Sociologists tell us that social change now takes place within a decade. The age group definition has drastically closed from 80 years to within a decade. In our lifetime.

Just look at the recent windows of the major generational stages. The Builders stretched from 30 plus years at one time, while the latest window for the Mills and the 'likes' or 'Y's' have been shrunk in some sociological models to 9 years. That is social and pop cultural digital change at it's fastest.

Social Media And The Information Age

The pace of change in a generation is also aided by the information age. Where one generation grew up and dealt with their problems in the neighborhood community where the issue was taking place, now, an entire nation is trying to solve each others problems 2,000 miles away on social media or some cable program. I can remember when we dealt with our own problems as a school or as a neighborhood or as a city. And we had no idea what was happening in the next state over. But, today, all the world has become a stage and we have lost the village influence that solved our problems well only a few decades ago.

Everyone has an opinion. But, maybe we should have let the community in Ferguson deal with its own problems of policing and racism and inequity, and we would not have had the riots in New York and Baltimore.

An Imbalance Of Tolerance

Recently we have watched a major shift in values and morality take over our society here in the U.S. And this shift has promoted a new set of ways about what is acceptable and not acceptable. When Bruce Jenner decided to change his identity to Caitlyn Jenner, and take a nation with him on the journey, we moved as quickly in culture as we have on any issue. And, as Caitlyn Jenner puts it in her new reality show, “I’m the new normal.”

This is not the 'new normal'. ESPN tried this 2 years ago with the autobiography of Baylor University and rising WNBA star Brittney Griner. A lesbian, and other sexually oriented, she exclaimed, "Why do we have to be male or female? Can't we just own the middle". Since when have we ALLOWED a 22 year old to define species and morality? I believe it was when we became so tolerant and open-minded that our brains fell out.

Tolerance has often had little room for breadth. For instance, we are willing to fight for our own values and morality, but, have no room for other's values and morality. This is not tolerance. When the political argument for religious freedom excludes Christianity, this is intolerance disguised as tolerance. And this shortsighted intolerance is partially what has created a lack of absolutes.

The Silence Of The Church

Throughout history we can see the presence of the Church in culture. Its influence is undeniable in American culture. However, to many in religious leadership, we can see the loss of the church's voice. And that creates a void. A moral gap that is filled by, among other things, popular public opinion.

Could it be that the Millennial's feel the church is judgmental because the church simply disagrees? Or, is it the way we disagree? In his recent New York Post opinion, author Kyle Smith stated, "Increasingly, we don’t want to judge others for anything, even if what they’re doing is destructive. But is being non-judgmental the same as granting tacit approval, even support?" I believe we have lost our voice as a church partly because of our approach, but, mostly because of the gap between our society and scripture. And this has been aided in the past decade by a church that will not stand in opposition to the changing moral landscape because of fear of being judgmental. Can we not disagree in love?

Edmund Burke said it well, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." The pressing question for our society is not about the issues. The pressing question for our society is "Who will lead America through the issues?" And if we are not careful, the change will continue at such a pace that we do not even recognize our nation in one more decade.

Jeff Grenell