Millennials are about the rediscovering of the human soul. I read lately about “Millennials.” Depending on what definition you go by, I am one or I am not one; I consider myself one. Time tables are largely arbitrary. What amazes me about Millennials is the focus on significance and impact. There is more to life and its purpose then mere existence.
I am more than my parts
The problem with modernism and the industrial revolution? They reduced everything to a mathematical formula or chemical equation. Reason was supreme, science was king. Under this onslaught of reason on steroids I cannot help but notice- things got worse not better. Reason & science can build you a bomb, but it cannot tell you if you should use it. The atrocities of modernism should cause pause about being enlightened.
Here is what I mean: Technological progress and the acquisition of knowledge does not equate to human progress. Such ‘progress’ lead to events like Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, abortion on a grand scale, pollution on a grand scale, the break up on the family, drug abuse, etc. Modernity forgot something. I am more then my parts. I have a soul.
My soul is fallen
Anyone who states a person is inherently good never worked with children. People, by nature, are depraved. I often get tirades of pessimism when I state this, but it is the truth. If people are naturally good and education the silver bullet, then things should be getting better. They are not. Again, I cannot help but notice how things got worse or at best remained the same.
Millennials focus on social justice, significance and impact may be the realization of something far more critical: We have a soul and it is fallen. The human soul often craves justice. This sense of freedom and justice demands action. They are foundational to the meaning of life.
The law has failed
The rule of law and the destructive nature of religious fundamentalism did not solve the problems. Millennials crave spirituality, but often reject religion. It points to the argument Paul made in Roman’s 7: The law is good, but it cannot save nor sanctify us. (Romans 7 is debated passage. My take is that human nature is not the focus, but the role of the Law (Torah) is.) Milennials want to cut the fluff and get to the real answers.
The Gospel really is the main thing
The Gospel really is the answer to the questions Millennials are asking. Granted there are problems at home, in the work place, etc. We need help in learning how to handle our money, our relationships, our conflicts. The Bible teaches that it is the role of older generations to teach and pass on that wisdom. Millennials are a generation of wanting listeners. But, that wisdom is not the answer they are looking for.
Theology & exposition of the Scripture stands ands as the answer. For this gets to what should be the root voice and foundation for the church: There is a God who wants be known, make Himself known and the Gospel is the only way that can happen. God doesn’t want us to know about Him, in such case general revelation would be sufficient. God wants to be known in community with us. God is active and involved. The story of Jesus Christ is pivotal to the questions Millennials are asking. The answer results and demands action. The Gospel really is the main thing.
The Bottom line
Millennials are reminding human history that we have a soul. The best response to the questions being raised is the Gospel. Teaching theology as about God, or teaching pragmatic & practical formulas misses the mark of what is asked. One is mere reason against questions of decades past, the other a softer form of legalism, both neglect that God created us with a soul. The Millennials questions bring us back to the main thing: That change occurs best from the inside out, and only the Gospel can produce that change. It’s as if with one voice they are shouting: Hey wold, I have a soul!