When someone speaks your name, something special happens. You become centered. Another way to describe “centered” is your capacity to be relational in a personal or group setting. To be relational comes from being confident in who you and your capacity to give and receive love. You may have been in a coffee shop with dozens of people until someone calls your name and now you are no longer part of a collective but an individual with a past, present and hopeful future. For one moment you are anonymous and then suddenly, you become present.
In past generations, names were connected to occupations, significant events, culture or heritage (family names). In newer generations, names are no longer exclusively tied to these former ways, but your name is still powerful. Unfortunately, the generational names (mostly labeled by media and marketing groups) assigned to each generation do not center anyone nor do they help us to be present in a faith community, family, relationship or career.
Here are examples of generational names and their personal characteristics:
- Generation Z -born after 1997.
- Edgy, individualistic, technology serves their interests and careers.
- Millennials or Gen Y- 1977 – 1995. Xennials – 1977-84.
- Known for being pampered, entitled, connected by technology, high expectations for employers.
- Generation X – 1961 – 1981.
- Passionate, relational, learn as they go, figuring things out.
- Baby Boomers – 1946 – 1964.
- Influence culture, motivated by work, getting things done.
- Traditionalists or Silent Generation – 1945 and before.
- Will power, respectful, frugal. (All dates are debated)
These generational tags form a collective identity that can create an unconscious bias between the five generations rather than helping them celebrate each other as a unique, unrepeatable, miracles of God. A spirit of celebration and welcome between the generations is what unites them to make a better life and society for everyone. This is what the kingdom of God is designed to do (Galatians 3:28). As Christians, we must resist these cultural tags in order to celebrate each person as an essential member of God’s kingdom.
The story of Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abed-Nego is an example of their redemptive resistance to a Babylonian immersion plan of being renamed and pressured to conform to a collective identity that would replace their faith, heritage and hopeful future. Today, it’s the media and corporations that develop marketing strategies to shape the tastes, beliefs, fashion, relationships and sexual identity of newer generations. In no way am I promoting one generation’s fashion, food preference or style above another, but these were tactics used in the book of Daniel to reshape and repurpose a generation of God’s people.
In what ways do you need to make a redemptive stand against these generational names and traits to celebrate yourself and others as unique, unrepeatable, miracles of God?
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