Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Freshman College Class of 2009

On the edge of another exciting Fall here in this little college town, when 3000+ college students will come crasing into town, I thought this article about the worldview of incoming freshman was interesting and curious. . .

Born in %u201987? You never lived without Starbucks - Education -

I read it in today's Tribune, but couldn't find it on the website, but found on MSNBC.

Here's a link to the entire list. . . .

Beloit College

Any reactions? Any thoughts?

Here a couple of mine:

1. I'm getting old!
2. We are living in an age of unprecedented change. Lot's of things change, but some things never change. Let's be about the unchanging truth!
3. I am so glad multiple generations are learning to appreciate and worship together here at Grace. It's a great challenge, but a great opportunity to "live the gospel" ala Phillipians 2.
4. We have a unique and ongoing opportunity to serve incoming freshmen and shape their "pop culture" worldview into a biblical worldview. Let's take advantage of it!


Scott Morton said...

I read the article you listed, can't this be said every year about every class? I was recently watching an old James Bond movie, probably from the sixties and it occurred to me that most people born after say 1980 or so probably don't know anything about the 'cold war' which is generally the basis for many of the Bond movies! I do agree with your point that a new opportunity exists every year here in our town and we would be fools to pass this opportunity by! As a church let's seize the day, the year, the generation for Christ.

Mark said...

I can't believe no one has commented on your post! How the up-and-coming generation thinks about their world, how they process information, what sorts of cultural changes shape their epistemology can hardly be more important for the church. If we don't want the Gospel to utterly fade into the background of irrelevance the way it has in many parts fo Europe, we desperately need to attend to the ways in which the up-and-coming generation will be most receptive to the life it offers. The gospel of course is unchanging--be it ever so simple and yet rich, complex,and multifaceted--but the ways in which we communicate it, the things we make salient to people, the particular aspects we emphasize, are hugely culturally variable. (But enough of theory; on to what is probably more practical.)

Now most of the list from the article needs a bit more analysis/thought to make it anything but superficially important. But two items caught my eye off the bat as worth considering. First was the comment about this generations familiarity with and comsumption of cable entertainment. Apart from the incisive criticism that Neil Postman offers in pieces like *Amusing Ourselves to Death*, I think the church needs to consider how moving from a lexigraphical /word-based society to an image/pictorial society (with respect to processing information and even truth) affects how we communicate the Gospel. What roles do images play in the way this generation thinks about and understands things as true or compelling?

The second thing that struck me was the comment about Starbucks. Coffee and the kind of social space that Starbucks creates is one that is conducive for relating--i.e., sitting down, looking another person in the eye, and having a conversation. What does this say about what this generation is eager/hungery or just plain interested in? Do we, as followers of Jesus, have enough margin in our lives to engage those unfamiliar with the Gospel with our stories, with the ways in which the Gospel is at work in our lives? I know that I need more of this kind of margin.

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts for what they are worth.

Brian Wong said...

I think this ties in perfectly with a conversation I had recently with my manager. She was mentioning that this is the first time in history when four generations have all been in the workplace together: the WWII generation (aka The Greatest Generation), the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the so-called Millenials. This presents a challenge to the managers and presidents (of the Baby Boomers and WWII generation) as they try to figure out what motivates us, what makes us tick, what are our strengths, and what are our weaknesses. For example the Millenials have extremely short attention spans, but we're excellent at multi-tasking. It's nothing for us to participate in four IM conversations, while surfing the web, watching TV and listening to the radio.

I definitely agree that it behooves all generations to understand where the others are coming from. Without this mutual understanding or desire to find common ground, things don't look so good for the church.

So now that we know where the Class of 2009 is coming from, how about a list that explains where the class of 1959 is coming from?