‘The times, they are a changing!’ These are words from a song back in the revolutionary days of the counter-culture of the late 1960’s when truly times were a changing. But it is happening again today. Things are changing. They always do. It is interesting to see some of the changes that have started to happen. Here are a few.
A NEW CONSERVATIVE GENERATION
Generations over the last sixty to seventy years have been given names: Baby Boomers (1946-1964), GenX (1965-1980), and Millennial (1981-2000). The new generation is called Generation Z (2001 – present).
New research released by ‘The Gild,’ a global brand consulting company, indicates that this latest Generation Z are tending to be more conservative. Andrew Mulholland, managing director at The Gild comments: “Gen Z may not be quite what you were expecting, as the data shows that they are more conservative than Millennials, Generation X and even Baby Boomers.”For example, on same-sex marriage, transgender rights, and marijuana legalization, 59% of Gen Z’s declared their attitudes as being between ‘conservative’ and ‘moderate’ compared to 83% of Millennials and 85% of Gen X’s, who were ‘quite liberal’ or ‘very liberal.'”
In other words, there is a swing towards a more conservative viewpoint with young people, that carries over into many areas of life.
MILLENNIALS ARE CHANGING TOO
A recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune headlined ‘Millennials say they want 50’s Families,’ started off by stating, “News that a growing number of Millennials are pining for a return to traditional gender roles had many of us scratching our heads.” The article went on to report, “These beliefs. . . suggested that millennials, particularly the youngest among them, favor relationships resembling more the lifestyle of their grandparents – men at work, women in the kitchen – than that of their parents.”
Sociologist Joanne Pepin of the University of Maryland and David Cotter of Union College compared forty years of surveys taken of high school seniors regarding their opinion about gender equality. Among their findings, fewer youth expressed support for gender equality than did their Gen X counterparts in the mid-1990’s.
Those of us who are older need to encourage this new generation to stand for conservative values and not consider being politically correct anymore.
LIBERAL CHURCHES WANE AS CONSERVATIVE ONES THRIVE
According to an article in the Washington Post, “Mainline Protestant Churches are in trouble. A 2015 report by the Pew Research Center found that these congregations, once the mainstay of American religion are now shrinking by about one million members annually.”
By contract, “When growing churches are identified
by other studies – nationally and internationally – they have been almost exclusively conservative in doctrine.”
The times are a changing in churches.
MORAL RELATIVISM IS DEAD
According to the Christianity Today, ‘Moral relativism is dead.’ Why? The answer they gave was to point out the
“liberals and conservatives do have radically different moralities and ways of weighing loyalty, authority, sanctity, liberty care, and fairness.” So, “it isn’t that conservative and liberals have shrugged off transcendent ideas of right and wrong. Rather, they appeal to a different moral foundation. We are not in an era of moral relativism, but moral pluralism.”
The times are a changing regarding morals.
CURRENT POLITICAL THOUGHT
Perhaps nowhere is the political statement ‘The times are a changing’ truer than in the political field, what with the election of President Donald J. Trump. The times are a changing for the political world in America and beyond.
I came across the editorial ‘Prescience’ in the magazine Thinking Minnesota, referring to a prominent Minnesota Democrat, who in 1978 predicted our current political dissonance in 2016. While it applies in particular to the Democratic Party, it is equally true regarding the Republican Party.
“A captivating (and favorite) aspect of the recent presidential election is how the stunning Fall of the House of Clinton in 2016 ambushed the American political establishment the way Herb Brooks snuck up on the invincible Russians at Lake Placid. But not everyone was surprised. Minneapolis attorney David Lebedoff, a guest columnist in this issue of Thinking Minnesota (page 22), saw it coming-in 1978, no less, just about the time 32-year old Bill Clinton was capturing his first term as Governor of Arkansas.
“David’s prescience didn’t address the Clintons by name, nor did he foresee the specific presidency of Donald Trump- that prediction belongs to an episode of The Simpsons that aired in 2000. Instead, he wrote an article in the August 1978 issue of Esquire magazine that described the political conditions that would lead to the most astounding presidential upset in the history of our republic.
“His article, The Dangerous Arrogance of the New Elite, described how a growing “test-score meritocracy” was quietly undermining the American concept of governance by majority rule. David foresaw an elite class of confident Americans who attained cultural prominence through academic achievement and became disdainful of the “Left Behinds”-everyone else-even though all together the Left Behinds comprised a majority of American voters (can you say “deplorables?”). The new elite, “for the good of the country,” would bypass majority rule through the courts and by subverting the political process through arcane and complicated rule-making (can you say “super delegates?”). This process would succeed, he suggested, only until the Left Behinds found their political footing (can you say 2016?).
“His column describes his theory far better than I ever could, but it’s noteworthy to mention that only conservative commentators embraced his hypothesis. Which is interesting, because David’s point of view is consistently non-partisan, even though he’s a lifetime Democrat. In fact, at the time he wrote the Esquire article, he was serving as treasurer of the DFL. (The parenthetical commentary above was mine, not his.)
“David developed the Esquire article into two subsequent books, The New Elite: The Death of Democracy (1978) and The Uncivil War: How a New Elite is Destroying Our Democracy (2004).”
Times are a changing with politics.
The Gospel is all about ‘change.’ That is what conversion is all about. The book of Ecclesiastes also reminds us that there is a time for everything. As believers, we have to adapt to the changes that take place all around us, both personally and also in society.
One thing I would mention however is this. With the changes that are occurring with young people today, we need to be praying for a new ‘Jesus Revolution,’ that would impact this new generation in a mighty way. God, I believe, wants to do a new thing with this new generation.
Link to editorial ‘Prescience’ by Ron Eibensteiner