Where lies the magic?

"A time is coming and has now come, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth." John 4:23.

Young people in their teens through to their early twenties are not an easy group to reach with the gospel. Other than church based programs for church based kids, the accepted formula was the "coffee shop" venue. Youth services through to youth outreach occasions, took on the Jesus Movement hippy folk style, along with a rock and roll concert style, packaged with a touch of beach mission. The trouble is the world has changed with the arrival of Generation X and this approach no longer works. Such occasions have become the haunts of the middle-class church youth group crew, for you see, rock and roll is a greying musical form. It is the protest music of the baby boomers and the trouble is the baby boomers are now starting to become grandparents. Generation X is coming of age.

The pubic protest form of Generation X is not really music. They do listen to music, all sorts of music (Is techno rap music?), but it is not the defining factor of their generation as rock and roll was for the previous generation. The protest vehicle of Generation X is found in surfing cyberspace through video games which are totally beyond the comprehension of most mums and dads. Mind you, rock and roll was just as lunatic for baby boomer parents. So the games of magic and mystery (new age), machine (technology), violence and sex (no different to "sex, drugs and rock and roll") belong completely to Generation X (+Y).

Like other generations before, Generation X speaks with a different tongue. The most noticeable accent difference is with the long vowels "o" and "u". They don't squeeze the lips into a circle to shape the vowel sound as did the generation before. The accent is particularly noticeable with girls. Yet with all the differences, they are no different to any generation before. The genetic desire to find a mate, feed, clothe, protect, and educate the offspring in safety and security, is all that ultimately matters. As Jesus put it, for here there is "giving and taking in marriage."

The response of the Anglican church to generational change is to get with the flow. At least that's better than "rock and roll is of the Devil". Yet getting with the flow often involves destroying the mystery and magic of worship and replacing it with a mini "Beetles" concert, in the misguided assumption that we will tap into Generation X with a middle-class imitation of 1970's pop culture. Even for the real thing most baby boomers would stay at home, Generation X will continue to party and surf cyberspace. When they do come looking for the magic and mystery of the cosmic Christ, where will they find it?

[Pumpkin Cottage]