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[208] Millennials

Bruce Wydick, professor of economics at the University of San Francisco, made a salient point published by Christianity Today (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/september-web-only/elishas-prophetic-message-for-millennials-stop-leaving-your.html?share=pHjigdVEUe/oDFhRmAFPL1VGzmyzBKo6&start=2). He notes that millennials are caught in a major dilemma. On one hand, they are looking for existential meaning, a non-material justification for life. On the other, they flee commitment.

These forces are at war with each other. To find meaning—to live a life of meaning—requires commitment.

Yet commitment is difficult in an age of jaded thinking and among a generation characterized by skepticism. He points out that millennials are characterized by wanting to keep their options open. Wydick notes that among millennials, only 26% are married, 29% are religiously unaffiliated, and half are politically independent.

Wydick sees millennials as approaching life with an eye toward cutting ties and opting out when a decision does not yield “value,” He states that this thinking is pervasive among university students “in decisions related to graduate school, careers, marriage, and even spiritual commitments. …It’s all about keeping the options open.”

This is not an effective life strategy.

Wydick says he does not know a single student “who has been successful in college by keeping all of their academic options in play. There is no older adult I’m acquainted with that has had a successful career while perpetually keeping their career options open. I am unaware of any married couple with a happy marriage without narrowing their relationship options.”

Commitment brings meaning. Wydick recalls sociology professor Tony Campolo stating that “continually searching inwardly for meaning is like peeling away the skins of an onion. We keep peeling and peeling, ultimately finding that there is not a whole lot there except that little pale bulb inside the onion—not the most impressive part of this vegetable…We are defined by our commitments.”

For the faith-and-learning community, scholarship begins with humility, and that humility generates a commitment to the leading of the spirit of God. Faith and learning, then, is a humble enterprise. It trusts that the spirit of truth will lead us into all truth (John 16:13)—a truth that brings meaning and purpose.

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