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The Cult of the Young

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ben Witherington has recently written a post entitled "Michael Vick's Mea Culpa". It is worth a read for his whole take on the Michael Vick situation, but his third contributing factor I found intereting.

3) And unlike Biblical culture, our culture is fixated on youth. 'Youth must be served' is our motto. So we watch endless programs with the young and the restless-- swimsuit models with barely any swimsuit and barely old enough to be beyond being called 'jail bait', young athletes, young this and young that. We even made up a phrase for it--- 'the Pepsi generation'. How very different this is from the culture of the Bible where it was the oldest and wisest who were most revered in society, and youth was deemed to be wasted on the young, who were too immature to appreciate such life and vitality. And here is an important Biblical point--- the person to be admired is the one smart enough to realize that youth and beauty are fleeting and vain, and cannot be recaptured once gone, but eternal life, is forever. Life is not too short when its eternal, and you have the gift of eternal life.

I still consider myself a young man (although now that I recently turned 38, I think that this youth is fleeting) and I think his use of "the Pepsi generation" reveals that he is a little "behind the times" :), but what about his point here?

I think that Dr. Witherington is correct that there is an inordinate fixation on youth in our culture. Not only is this seen in the entertainment fields such as the ones that Dr. Witherington mentioned, even more tragically it is seen in areas where it should be even more clear that age and wisdom are important - such as politics and education.

I would even go beyond Dr. Witherington to say that not only is there an inordinate fixation on youth within our culture, there is also an inordinate fixation on youth within our Christian culture. In recent years there has been much said about "Young Fundamentalists" (as well as Young Evangelicals and the Younger Evangelicals). There have been conferences specifically geared towards reaching out to them and how to deal with them has often been the talk of the blogosphere. I have heard of a few different pulpit committees that have made youth a significant part of their criteria in looking for a new Pastor. We often spend much more in churches to focus on the needs of children or youth than we do for the seniors or other groups. I know that there are some reasons for some of these things and I am definitely not anti-youth (I was involved directly in youth ministry for over a decade and I currently teach our teen Sunday School instead of the adult class at our church), but I wonder if sometimes we don't fixate on youth to the detriment of heeding and focusing on the grey heads among us?

Just my thoughts,


So, what say you, is Dr. Witherington correct or is he a washed up old man?

Just my thoughts,



Jim Peet said...

Re: "I have heard of a few different pulpit committees that have made youth a significant part of their criteria in looking for a new Pastor"

You know this is not only "too bad" for older Pastors, but is not even Scriptural!

The Scriptures acknowlege the wisdom that (sometimes) comes with age. Even the word "elder" speaks of age.


Leviticus 19:32, "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD." (NKJV = "the gray headed")


Proverbs 16:31, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." (NKJV = "silver-haired head")