A lot has been made of the fact that baby boomers are the offspring of the Greatest Generation – that generation that so heroically and courageously endured the Great Depression, so eagerly fought and won the war against the powerful forces of fascism and imperialism, preserving America and the world for freedom. Not through yet, they followed those feats with hard work, creating for themselves and the country and period of economic prosperity. And then this greatest of all generations filled up their newly acquired , three or four bedroom suburban homes with 3.5 children, or about 78 million, born between 1946 and 1964.

I was one in that “swarm of locusts” that descended on the country, a cloud so thick that it blocked the Sun from shining over America. We hungrily devoured the crops of prosperity, turned the culture on its head, and now are sending America into economic ruin as we approach retirement, draining the “system” of its resources. At least, that’s te way some perceive the impact of this unique generation. This seems somewhat harsh to a boomer, but not all criticism of the boomer generation is unjust.

Our parents came of age in the midst of global tumult. We came of age in the midst of superficial domestic tranquility that soon erupted into a full-scale rebellion. Coming out of the Great Depression and a great world war, our parents embraced the virtues of peace and prosperity, which, at some point, we interpreted as shallow, empty, and hypocritical. Our parents believed they had achieved a pretty decent world. Somehow, we thought we could make it even better. The Greatest Generation never thought of themselves as heroic world-changers, but they were. Conversely, in all our egotistical idealism, we believed we were going to change the world and envisioned an unprecedented ticker-tape parade when our job was complete and our laudable labors celebrated. It’s pretty clear that nobody is going to put on a parade for my generation. Do I sound disappointed?

It has been noted that pastors may retire from the pastorate, but they never retire from the ministry. I can think of many examples of men whose life and ministry affirm this general truth. One man in particular comes to mind. He is a member of the Greatest Generation, nearing his 90th birthday, and still driving himself to preaching engagements regularly. Many boomer pastors have reached retirement age. The rest of us are getting there quickly, and many of us are disappointed and discouraged because we haven’t had the kind of positive impact we had hoped for. In fact, we approach these current critical days in our lives and in American church history with a disturbing knowledge that the American church is in crisis. We can’t help but wonder if we have missed our chance to make an important contribution, or if there is still an ¬†opportunity to have a say in the future of the church and God’s movement through history.

What do you think?

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