Monthly Archives: February 2012

Millennials: The Generation of Promise. Pt.3

Myth #1 – College will automatically get you a dream job

A while back, I pointed out how the relentless pampering of an older generation has cultured Millennials. Soon after, we mulled over the lack of opportunities to spend our inherited greatness. Now we have a group of young people who feel that they’ve wasted their potential. An environment of coddling with no opportunities is a cruel trick.

But not as cruel as the trick you play on yourself by going to college.

Higher ed is what they tell every Millennial to do after graduating high school, yet no one explains how this is going to help. As far as we know, it’s a magical band-aid.

Sooner of later, you find yourself disappointed for toiling those four years, expecting a significant job, with benefits, and a $40K annual return, yet only experiencing cold-calls and shoulder shrugs. It turns out, that college degree is not as magical as you thought.

The one thing I would tell college students before they packed their bags for schoolRead the rest of this entry

Can you recognize beauty in the middle of chaos?

On January 12, 2007, a young man began to play his violin while standing against a nondescript wall in a busy subway station in Washington D.C.

He performed six classical pieces spanning 43 minutes while 1,097 people passed by. Most of these commuters were on the way to the hectic grind of their government jobs. How many stopped?

See for yourself…

According to the Washington Post, “In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.”Unknown to the commuters in the L’Enfant Plaza, the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a Stradivarius violin prized at $3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

Two weeks later, he would play to a standing-room-only audience so respectful of his artistry that they “stifled their coughs until the silence between movements.”

This was all organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people, and asking the question,

Do we recognize beauty in an unexpected context?


Adapted from the Gene Weingarten. Pearls before Breakfast. Washington Post. April 8, 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

Christian Sympathy

(HT: ASBO Jesus)

J.R. Daniel Kirk on withdrawal and isolation from the world

I’m reading through a book by J.R. Daniel Kirk, called Jesus have I loved, but Paul?which seeks to harmonize what some see as discrepancies between Jesus’ mission and Paul’s. One of them is Jesus’ love for outsiders, and Paul’s supposed judgment of them. But after Kirk corrects this faulty understanding (e.g., Matt. 18; 1 Cor. 5), he then shows how we’ve lived out a different lifestyle than the intended mission of Paul to outsiders.

This sentence stands out, in particular,

Too often modern church concerns for purity entail a withdrawal from the world around us, creating an isolated community that stands in perpetual judgment of the world. (Kirk, p. 109)

Think of the rhythms and spaces that intersect your life outside of your Christian community. How do we take on the life Jesus and Paul lived while on mission among outsiders, without being judgmental of the world we live in? What does this look like with your athletic team? With your co-workers? With your agnostic friends? With the sexually promiscuous couple you met in class? With the binge drinkers next door?

What do these strange laws in Exodus and Leviticus have to do to my life?

Millennials: The Promised Generation, part 2 – Redeeming Lost Talent

At the end of January, I asked what you would do if you were given so much promise and deprived of so much opportunity. All Millennials are. You are the promising generation, and you know it; decades of pampering and care has gone into a Millennial generation’s upbringing, and now  you have come of age.

Unfortunately, there’s no where left for you to be awesome.

The first post was a wake up call. I know you all like it more when I write inspiring posts about Millennials—after all, I am one, and at a DOB of 1981, I barely made it!—but I can’t help noticing a bad trend emerging from those of us who are called to speak into the lives of Millennials.

Millennials are so high up on a pedestal, that we forgot what it was like to fall on the ground.

The world isn’t always fair. There are not always opportunities open for us to waltz into, and this has caused many to feel ripped off. It’s true for college leaders, as well. We love that you are the promised generation! We have also placed so much hope in you, that we are sometimes quick to disregard the entire picture, that circumstances do not always turn out ideal, and in ignoring reality, we sometimes explain away a basic understanding that life is unromantic. You are given great gifts, talents, and education, only to find that life has given you the shaft.

But God has plenty of opportunity for you in his mission.

While you may not get a high-paying job with benefits right out of college, your calling in life will always concern being on God’s mission to make disciples of the nations and your city. I want to propose a biblical worldview of calling.

You have not been seasoned for this moment to make much of yourself and career, but to put God’s eternal purposes on display. God is out to renew creation, from the material nature of the environment, to structures, cultures, and societies. And of course, he is in the process of renewing and restoring a broken group of humanity for his own glory. Approach life differently.

Use your gifts to make much of others and align your calling with the mission of Jesus.

That’s redemption. It means your life is not wasted. It means God is not ignoring you. It means there is a plan. And it means you are in the middle of it, albeit, one larger than yourself. This is what Peter was referring to when saying that “As each one has received a special gift, use it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” ( 1 Peter 4:10-11). Even if you’re stuck in a dead-end job; the glorious mission of God is always available to you in the form of servanthood, for in the serving of others, you loosen the fragrance of Jesus.

It’s less glamorous, but then again, when has “glamorous” ever changed the world?

We were made for more.

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