Dear older people,
(If you haven’t read Part One, I’d recommend doing that before continuing.)
I hope the first part of this letter intrigued you, no matter your age. Even if you already knew that God created variety within His Church for a reason. I want to help you understand that these different gifts are gifts, not threats or things to be ignored.
For the sake of brevity, I will use some blanket statements concerning older and younger people. These may or may not be true for individuals, but they seem to be true on the whole.
When older and younger generations discuss Church, tradition is often at the forefront. Younger people feel stifled and confused by traditions they don’t understand. Older people believe that tossing aside traditions or changing them will destroy our stability.
After discussing and pondering traditions for the last ten years, I’ve realized something.
It’s not a problem of tradition. Tradition isn’t what stagnates a church. It’s blindness.
God has given young people zeal for improvement, and zeal is important. (Romans 12:11; Revelation 3:2; 1 Tim. 4:12) He’s also given us good eyesight. Do you see? Dear older people, you have experience, stability, and strength. We come behind you with our sharp eyes and poky fingers, and we test your foundation and we point out blind spots.
Yes, we get it wrong sometimes! I know some of us blame tradition entirely for the problem, but you’re right that tossing tradition won’t fix anything if people aren’t willing to open their eyes and see the sin in their own lives.
What we’re asking you to do is, listen. Heed our warning. Help us complete the task God has given us. Most of us aren’t in authority, with good reason. You are in a position to help members of the Church search their hearts. You can call the Body into true unity (John 7:20-21) in ways we can’t. You can create opportunities for every member to use their spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6-8) as we are instructed. If we have pointed out a blind spot in our tradition, you can help us find a way to bring light and understanding to that spot. You can bring about thoughtful, prayerful, changes to traditions that impede us from following Christ.
We will be behind you the whole way. You will have our support. If we know we have your ear, that you acknowledge the burden God has laid upon our hearts, we will be your most loyal supporters. Even if your way doesn’t completely match the ideas we have. Just knowing you’re trying will be enough. In the end, we want to find God’s way, and we need your help to do it.
Thank you for listening.
Love, the Younger Generation