Pentecost 5, 2023

Jesus speaks to us about divisions in families this week, particularly parents against children. If you have had a young person in your life in the past 5 or 6 years, you might have encountered or seen this taking place. My own children, college aged and immediately post-college, seem to have strange ideas about the world, how it works, and the values that do drive and should drive it. I think my own father thought the same thing about me at this point in my life. I remember my grandmother complaining about the “young people” when I was younger. I might have gotten in some trouble when I pointed out to her that they had been raised by her and people like her. Perhaps the problem with the “youth” was the “elders.”

But there is something seems to differentiate this generational angst from that which has gone before. Is it attributable to social media and the informational revolution we are experiencing? Is it a manifestation of a deeper culture war with a varying anthropologies and new moralities? Is it because baby boomers really did mess things up that badly? I do not profess to be wise enough to know all those answers. I just know that the students I teach and the young people whom I love are feeling very frustrated and betrayed, often by people my age. I don’t know what to tell them, because so many of the structures which made my success and middle-class existence are indeed failing them.

The preacher who comes to this passage this week should spend a little time exploring some of that angst and some of the questions which people are raising on all sides of these issues. It might not show up in your sermon this week. But you should know something about it. Your people are feeling it.

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