Yesterday I began some training for a new bit of adventuring, which I’m not ready to go totally public with yet. It was an interesting experience which raised a couple of questions for me; why don’t need to ask and don’t need to say is more problematic an approach than it may first appear and is Gen X actually a real and observable thing?
So why is it sometimes more complicated than don’t ask, don’t tell when it comes to part of who I am? Well, this seemed to be the approach I was taking in the group, a group where I really didn’t think my sexual orientation was relevant until……we looked at a case study. The question was, “what would you say to a homosexual couple who thought what you were doing was really good, but thought as Christians you must hate them and God must hate them?” Now, there were a number of ways I could have handled this one…but I felt the only answer I could give with integrity was the real one. I said, “I’d give them my testimony and tell them why I knew God loved me and my partner”. It made me reflect a little, the fact I am gay may be “a problem” within the church but for some outside the church it could be something really useful which God could potentially use. For me to use it in that way I will have to be comfortable being honest, as appropriate.
The other thing that emerged for me yesterday was whether Gen X might be more than a marketing tool and might, in some cases, actually be something observable. I think it may be. I walked into the room, and as you do when it contains nobody you really know and you’re a couple of minutes late, looked for somebody vaguely like me. I spotted some a Download t-shirt on somebody who looked around my age and so took my seat. Then in rushed somebody else, who sat down with us who again looked like he might have a liking for heavy rock/ metal. If you had walked into the room and put people into distinct groups the three of us would have been a group, based on both dress and age. We were obviously what was once called Gen X. The other thing that struck me, though, is how that group of Gen X is not defined in the way that other groups can be. There was an age discussion through the day, we talked about “the under 30’s” and “over 40’s”….although I think it might have been more appropriate for the over “45’s”. There were a group of us who are not clearly defineable. We are no longer young people, but also not yet older people.
This question of how to define the 30 and early 40 somethings is important though. In terms of churches engaging we are the age group who have the children, although our household situations might be much more complex than traditionally seen. If churches want to engage with children they also need to engage with parents. Our generation, which is problematic because it is a hinge generation, needs to be engaged with where we are now. I think it is really important that youth and old people are engaged with but it is also important that 30-45 year olds don’t just become seen as a problematic generation which are ignored or seen just as parents.
Anyway, that turned into a bit of a rant it wasn’t intended to, honestly just intended to make a couple of interesting observations.