One of the knocks against boomers is that they are a bunch, albeit an enormous bunch, of spoiled brats, self-absorbed, always whining about one thing and another, never content, restless, and obsessed with a competitive arrogance to leave a lasting mark on society. That last point is at least a sure bet without regard to its positive or negative nature.

Researchers say we have never been a happy bunch. In a 2008 Washington Post¬†article, staff writer, Monica Hesse, writes, “Boomers used to be gloomy because the world needed change. Now, they’re gloomy because change didn’t work out quite as they’d hoped.” She goes on to quote Mary Furlong, a consultant with a California firm that works with companies in marketing to boomers. A boomer herself, Furlong says that back in the 70’s “we were going to build an idealistic culture. We weren’t going to be alone. We were going to leave the world a better place.” We don’t see much hope for that anymore, we must admit.

The Greatest Generation never had much of a chance to exercise their youthful idealism. For them, that was blown away on December 7, 1941. We as boomers have never gotten over ours, and, perhaps, that’s a part of the reason we sound so much like whiners. Things just haven’t turned out as well as we thought they should, and we’re pretty sore about it. Here we are in 2011 with over 10,000 of us turning 60 every single day, our home values have declined and our 401k’s are frightfully shrinking. We resent feeling that the world is spinning out of control at so many levels and so quickly. It’s really not that we mind all the changes. We just want to be the ones making them!

Like our cohorts, we boomer pastors have never lost our idealistic zeal to be world-changers. Our zealous nature has been sorely wounded, but it’s still there. That may be why we are a disappointed and frustrated group as a whole. We might even need to confess an anger-induced depression. But this inherent idealistic zeal just may be the trait the Lord will use to renew the church in America if this boomer zeal is redeemed and refocused on the power and purposes of God. The focus has been too long on how we¬†could change the world. Jesus Christ is the real world changer. Many boomer pastors would do well to refocus on him and remember that He’s the church builder. We’re just the tools.