Bridging the Generational Gap

I have a bit of a confession to make. I identify as trans.

Trans-generation, that is.

I have another confession to make; I like click-bait. I don’t like being targeted by it, but I love using it. But I digress–now that you’re here.

54316949

I’ll tell you what I mean.

I’ve identified as a Millenial for about as long as I’ve known anything about Millenials; I fit the attributes of a Millenial pretty well and for some time now it has been growing on me that Father put seeds for big dreams in the hearts of Millenials that will and are changing the heart of Christianity and culture, and I’m excited about that.

But the truth is that from the beginning there was always a disconnect that I couldn’t quite place–a something that leaves me feeling able to relate with Millenial longing, but from an edge-of-the-camp point of view.

I found a book a few weeks back (spoiler: it was actually a little disappointing) called Meet Generation Z by James Emery White, and I read the back and I said to myself, “That’s it; that is why my heart feels so divided here.” Generation Z, or the Founders, or iGeneration–to mention a few of the descriptors going around–is the generation following Generation Y–Millenials–and while it is still too young for the experts to really agree on exact dates yet, it includes people born from the mid-90s onward. And here was my dilemma: I’m right in the middle.

The Thing that was off is that I relate as much–maybe even more–to GenZ as I do Millenials, but I grew up with Millenials, and so I find myself in this unique position where I can dream with both.

It probably also helps that I was raised in a Christian home and have been challenged over the years to go deep and know what I believe and why, and experience it. That immediately sets a contrast to the growing nones of GenZ (those with no religious affiliation).

I actually started writing this post weeks ago, but it lay dormant till this morning when it dawned on me: these aren’t the first trans-generational inclinations I’ve had. Back in May 2012 I delivered a sermon based on a dream I had had back in January of 2009, here’s what I wrote about it in my journal:

May 26, 2012 – Friday 9:25 PM

So tomorrow is the big day! I’m preaching! Oh God speak through me, [be]cause my voice, my thoughts and ideas, they are totally not yours, yours are so much bigger, so much HIGHER, so much more amazing!

I’m super nervous.

I really really really hope you do something awesome tomorrow, God. That would be so cool dude! I’m really tired tonight though, I hope you don’t have anything to say to me at midnight again! Haha…

No… that’s not true… I love listening to your voice. Especially in the stillness, the quiet of the night.

I LOVE YOU, Daddy! Whatever happens tomorrow, it’s totally all yours. Completely all yours.

On with the show!

May 28, 2012 – Sunday 4:05 PM

So I missed [journaling] yesterday but I probably shouldn’t have because a lot happened. I’ll start at the beginning. So I had the sermon and that was awesome! I shared about my dream and my vision for generational unity and everybody responded SO well, it was amazing! Everybody came to the front when I gave the invitation and those that couldn’t stood; there was nobody sitting down in the end. And it was SO AWESOME! I’M SO EXCITED! The feedback afterward was so great too, L came into the anti-room right after and said thank-you and I gave him a hug, and OF COURSE D came and gave me a hug, C had lots to say (as usual) but that was cool because he has a real heart for this too. J came and thanked me too and I gave him a hug. It was awesome! So anyway… it turned out way way WAY better than I could’ve hoped… cause it was in God’s hands, not mine.

(I’m so glad I used to be a prolific journal-er)

I’d originally recorded the dream I’d had in a notebook sometime around the time I’d had it, but that notebook got burnt, SO, thankfully I diagrammed it in my dream journal a couple years later pre-burn so that I can still be sure of the details. Here’s what happened:

It all centered around this bridge, and I’ve had many, many dreams both previously and since, about crossing this bridge, but I have never to my memory had any but one dream where the bridge wasn’t swaying or falling apart or just a collection of boards and cables, I’ve never once any other time had a dream where crossing this bridge–usually on foot–wasn’t a tremendously terrifying or menacing feat.

hagwilget-bridge-summer_2-300x225

 

But in my dream I was biking toward the bridge, and I had just about this exact view as I was riding down the highway toward it, but everything was vivid green, like almost unnaturally new-growth green, the whole canyon. It looked a lot like the picture, but somehow more alive, more young–everything had this hue about it that just echoed spring.

As I was rounding the corner that leads up to the bridge I saw this old white-haired man who I was catching up to. He was walking ahead of me on the side of the road, and he had on these green coveralls, a darker, deeper shade than the scenery was. As I caught up to him we were just coming to the bridge, and for a moment it was like neither of us could decide which side we each wanted to be on; after several swaps I ended up starting across on the left, and he on the right. I had gotten off my bike to push it across, and I started to run to get across ahead of this old man, but the man kept up without difficulty.

What I took out of this dream, and what I spoke about in 2012 is that I had a longing to see generations walking together. How fitting, then, that I identify so well with two different generations directly, but also have been able to identify with a passion for Father I’ve seen in many of older generations, as well. We cannot compete, we must walk together.

And so I’m beginning to see part of my heart again – a part that is longing not only to see the next generation transformed by the reality of the gospel, but to see my generation model that reality and mentor that generation. To see the young embrace and learn from the old. And certainly, generations pass on, but there is a season for walking with before seasons of merely walking in the footsteps of.

But there is also a challenge for the older generations in this, too. Because Father never changes, but Christianity is, and there is a change coming with Millenials and the Founders that is going to turn church and religion on its head–in a good way. It is a returning to the roots, a re-discovering of the reality of the gospel and a challenging of the traditional corporate church and traditional theology. A baptism of love is releasing from transformed hearts who won’t merely pray for transformation and revival but be transformation and revival because we are transformation and revival already since Christ transformed and revived each of us on the cross. It is a revolution of Truth and Grace in love and it threatens the very roots of church culture tradition, but hearts are coming alive like seldom before.

And so to the generations as we’re entering this church-culture shift I give the same invitation I did five years ago: won’t you join me?

Advertisements

I’m Already Perfect

then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.”

I ran across something the other day that totally revitalized my confidence in the journey I’ve been on and an endeavor I’ve recently set out on. It was this little passage in the book of Hebrews:

12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

                                                                                                –Hebrews 10:12-14 [NKJV]

Why does that resound so deeply in me? Because it is the one thing that gives.

For several weeks now I’ve been writing a lot–albeit not anything for this blog. I’ve undertaken the task of doing some research into the early history of the Millerite movement and Adventist church pioneers, and putting together a fairly brief (10000-word-and-counting) paper on my findings, and let me tell you…it’s been tough slugging. Although I’ve wanted to undertake something like this for several years, going back to the dispute has raised such a flounder on my mind–not that I don’t still believe in my decisions, but that the things I’ve been researching are so fog-inducing. Indeed, it is probably the thing I’ve been most enthusiastic about working on over the last few weeks, but at the same time it is tiresome work because Father has been so misunderstood and misrepresented.

In particular, I’ve been studying a doctrine called Investigative Judgment which tends to take the focal point in the early history of the Adventist movement’s birth out of Millerism. (it’s alright if you don’t know what any of this actually is, by the way) To put it in brief, investigative judgment takes every assurance of salvation away from believers and replaces it with an assurance of judgment, the nature of which calls up every secret word, thought and deed you ever did–or will do–and measures your fitness for salvation based upon these deeds. It is a doctrine which would have Christ’s death on the cross powerless, instead pointing you toward a future atoning for sin only after you have been found deserving under the most detailed scrutiny of all your conscious and unconscious action and thought.

Rough, right?

But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

It’s not that I didn’t already know that–I’ve read this passage before, probably multiple times over. But the reality just crashed over me like a tsunami, totally obliterating the fog and the obstructions; I’m perfect. I was made completely perfect forever the moment Christ made that offering. How could that possibly be based on anything I could ever do? The thing about sanctification then, is that it does not bring us up to a future perfection; sanctification brings us up to experience the already-present-reality that we are perfect already. Forever.

“Well,” I’m sure you say, “Where does that leave me? I KNOW I’m not perfect; this just can’t be true.”

Ditto. Me too. But you are perfect. You are perfect. YOU! Perfect! That is the gospel! That is the good news! To the first believers the gospel was this: ‘Sin has so depraved you that you killed Jesus–the very messiah you’ve been looking for–but by his offering he made you perfect anyways, and now he reigns Eternal Risen King.’ (or something along that line – find it in the book of Acts) But now the gospel is ‘You are no longer born inherently evil in spite of the depravity sin once worked on the human race because Christ redeemed and perfected you!’ It is finished! There is no more to do! You are perfect! You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! The only thing left to do to experience this reality is to start believing the reality of Christ-in-you the hope of glory! The eternal mystery has been completed and revealed in the sacrifice of Jesus to make you perfect. Eternal not because we will never know what it is, but eternal because your perfection is for forever.

I don’t mind telling you, it is so refreshing to remember that. And to learn that. Because to be honest, I did learn something when I read those verses again. I’ve spent my life glossing over the reality of the gospel. I’ve spent my life believing in the ‘one day,’ a distant future hope in becoming complete and perfect in who I was made to be. Even as I’ve begun to understand grace and love, I know now I’ve never believed I could be already perfect. I always believed there was still some inherent evil lurking in the roots of me, some mystical flesh character that I must struggle and fight against to maintain and further my growing perfection. And sure, ‘the flesh’ whatever that actually is exactly, it’s a thing. Something in my physical body that urges me to do things that I know I–the true me–don’t really want to do.

But the reality is I’ve already been perfected. Forever. You’ve already been perfected forever. You can take that ‘flesh’ monster and you can make that an external thing to you because you are now perfect in Jesus; there is no sin problem between me and Father–between you and Father. Sanctification is just the journey we take to fully realize that reality in our bodies, to the ultimate sanctification of physically new bodies. Now that is good news. Are you ready to believe it with me?