A Splendid Rant on Boomers!

Barbara R. Nicolosi, Slayer of Boomers

And today we enter Week 4 of Patheo’s summer-long look at the Future of Religion; The Future of Catholicism.

Mainline Protestants, you’re next, then Evangelicals, then Mormons, and so forth.

I can’t say I have had much to do with putting the “Catholic” week together, as I have only started working over there these past weeks, while this effort has been in the works, but I think Patheos has put together a pretty provocative group of essays on the subject, and I will each day be adding two little “symposium” pieces–short thoughts on the Future, shared by some familiar names–over at “Summa This; Summa That, the group-blog side of the portal, so you might want to check in there, day-by-day.

But let me tease you with an excerpt from a splendid, smart rant by screenwriter Barbara R. Nicolosi, a founder of the Act One program, which helps people of faith break into media. Her piece is entitled Save the Boomers, Save the World; Redeeming Culture:

The entertainment industry is in the full throes of the changing of the generations; films and television are beginning to reflect the visions of Generation Xers like Jason Reitman, (Up in the Air), Judd Apatow, (Knocked Up), Brad Byrd (Up, The Incredibles), and other young artists who dare to buck the tired irony-cool cynicism that has shaped and stifled too much of the culture. Suddenly, after decades of being shut out, minimized, or mocked, film characters have room in their lives for optimism, and even something almost like faith. The Church, if it seeks to be relevant in the future, needs to welcome this development and encourage — even patronize — such talents.

Pope Benedict XVI, who has an artist’s heart, seems to realize this; he recently met with artists to discuss the role of beauty in the health of the world. That is a start, but more is needed. The Boomers’ exit from cultural influence creates a two-sided pastoral challenge for the 21st-century Church.

First is the effect on the gargantuan Boomer generation of a lifetime of listening almost exclusively to their own voices. The movies being created by and for the Boomers today are a very unentertaining mix of “Never regret! Life starts at 70!” and “Life is a cruel joke, ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’” Movies like It’s Complicated showcase a bunch of grey hairs still acting badly, swallowing their shame, and ignoring their appropriate role as the wise mentors of the younger generations. The Dorian Greyish dark echo of this kind of story, are movies like There Will Be Blood and the chillingly titled No Country for Old Men, in which the characters’ lives of narcissism and greed devolve into cynicism and brutality.

As an institution charged with saving souls, the Church’s urgent outreach to fading Boomers must encourage them to face and take responsibility for the mistakes they have made. If they would be saved, the Boomer Generation must be guided into repentance for the way they self-righteously sacrificed all others as they fled from the simple heroism of adult human life. The rigid eradication of tradition, the gross materialism, the unbridled license, the embarrassing promiscuity — all always accompanied by shrill distortion and denial — have left our society disconnected, bloated, poorly educated, unable to trust, and simmering in resentment. I see many of my Millennial Generation students clamoring to set back the clock to a day before the Sixties, when there were grown-ups.

You’ll want to read the whole thing!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • dry valleys

    These boomers don’t get much love- there was a book condemning them, by someone who has since become a minister in the British government. (Though I agree with the negative commentors, not with his premise).

    Personally I am one of Generation Y. I never thought I had much in common with my peers (apart from friends, but then again they were specially selected for being like me rather than for being like everyone else) but I suppose it does make a kind of sense that people are shaped/influenced by the culture they grew up in.

    But still, “It is not generations to for the unfolding nightmare blame but policy”.

  • F

    YAY! Ripping on self absorbed boomers. YAY!

    Sick of them. Sick of the mess they left my generation to deal with.

    YAY, Ms. Nicolosi!!!!


  • newton

    I, too, perceive that the time has come for many of my generation to shine and to teach through story, lyrics and art.

    But many among us either don’t have the skills, or have them but have been seriously discouraged by the environment surrounding us. I’m having a real problem right now: I can’t find a workshop where I can learn and hone this craft that I’ve kept inside me for… well… my whole life! It is depressing when you have these things, these stories in your head, and had them for years – yet have no way to let them out in the open because of fear and certain limitations.

    Somehow, that door has not been opened for me. I wonder if it ever will.

  • dymphna

    To be honest, I’m sick of hearing about the Boomers.

  • Oblate Annie

    Replace “Boomer” with a slur of your choice and see how this article comes across.

  • Kate

    So in the 60s, we baby boomers blamed our parents for making a mess of things. Now some new generation is blaming the baby boomers for making a mess of things… Truly, there is not much new under the sun.

    Note to Newton: You have to open your own doors. If you wait for doors to open magically, or for somebody else to open them for you, always blaming others for holding you back, then you are never going to get anywhere.

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  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Newton, write your stories the way you want them written, and don’t give a hang for what anyone else tells you!

    Doors will open, trust me.

  • http://underhermantle.wordpress.com Mary Kay

    Oblate Annie, Bravo!

    Kate, ’tis true. Then again, I’m not sure I remember this much vitriol aimed at a previous generation.

    [Then again, how many previous generations have been so dedicated to deconstructing all that came before it? -admin]

  • http://underhermantle.wordpress.com Mary Kay

    postscript: I don’t mean just Nicolosi’s rant – I mean the accumulated vitriol over the past few years in a variety of formats.

  • http://www.fromthepulpitofmylife.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

    @Dymphna, even boomers are sick of hearing about boomers!

    @F, I don’t know which one is your generation, but EVERY generation has a mess with which to deal. Quit whining—as my wise ole dad, from the “greatest generation,” would tell me—and step up to the plate and fix what you perceive as wrong. None is exempted.

    @Oblate Annie, I agree! Nicolosi’s essay is a diatribe full of generalizations that apply to a vocal minority.

    Many of the so-called boomers I know—many of my friends and I happen to have been born in 1946 before the “boomer” term was coined—don’t fit this STEREOTYPE with which we have been labeled. If one must use the label, it ought to mean merely that between 1946 and 1964 lots of kiddos were born. Beyond that, they were diverse, not the same.

    “…fled from the simple heroism of adult human life.” Really? I think not. Maybe one of my friends or siblings has done that, and that one HAS already repented. I hope someone is happy about that. God, maybe?

    “…eradication of tradition, … gross materialism, … the embarrassing promiscuity — all always accompanied by shrill distortion and denial —” Really? Well, now I suppose Nicolosi would tell me I’m in “denial.”

    My friends, siblings, and I have kept the traditions handed on to us by our parents, including the FAITH. Promiscuity? Chastity is a virtue I was taught and value. So do most of my friends. Some have succumbed to temptation, fallen and, yes, already REPENTED, because the sacrament of penance is part of their life. We did learn right from wrong and have attempted to live decently.

    “…have left our society disconnected, bloated, poorly educated, unable to trust, and simmering in resentment.” Are all these miseries the fault of one generation? Is it really so simple?

    I’ll comment on poorly educated. Just today I reflected on my years of both Catholic school and public school teaching. I took my classroom obligations seriously and imparted knowledge & skills, modeled fidelity, and nurtured faith. In all humility, I was not the only teacher responsible for the ultimate outcomes for each child whom I taught, but I’d like to think what I did was, overall, helpful along their way to adulthood.

    Since when is one’s soul and salvation connected with being born within a certain generation? Will God judge me as an individual who has followed Him for a life time or as a member of some group? I thought the Church teaches the former.

    Elizabeth, I did read the whole thing, and I don’t agree with you that this essay is either “splendid” or “smart,” but I do agree it is a “rant.”

    [But that's the beauty of life, isn't it? As a tail-end boomer, it sang to me! -admin]

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Oh, no, Annie, not that old trump card again! Are you now implying that criticizing Boomers is “racist”, or that only bigotry could possibly inspire anyone to criticize that generation? (Groan!)

    (And, since the article is very specific about what it doesn’t approve of about Boomers, you really can’t replace “Boomer” with “Racial slur of your choice”; it would make no sense.)

  • OldLineStateDad

    A boomer telling others to quit whining and step up to the plate to fix what they perceive is wrong, now that’s ironic.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    If we can’t remember this much vitriol being aimed at a previous generation—well, it might be that previous generations didn’t deserve it. It also might be that Boomers, with their claims to superior enlightenment and hightened consciousness were just setting themselves up for a fall! Because my generation certainly didn’t live up to its own hype!

    We could certainly dish out the criticism (yes, I’m a Boomer, too!): our parents’ generation, our government, the military, “materialism”, America itself, etc., etc., etc., but we seem most unwilling to take it! We were given credit for things we really weren’t responsible for, such as the Civil rights movement, and doged any and all culpability for the things we actually had a hand in—for instance, abandoning Vietnam to the communists, and then trying to pretend all the deaths that occurred under that regime never really happened. Boat people? Um, what Boat people?

    As a generation, we do have much to repent.

  • dymphna

    If I hear one more Boomer telling me about 1968 or claiming that they marched in Selma I think I’ll immitate Katherine Hepburn in the scene in On Golden Pond where she screams, “bore, bore, bore.”

  • http://www.mp3unsigned.com/melindamohn.asp Melinda MT

    Wowzers!….Boomers are not well loved or appreciated eh? Well no wonder there….I am a boomer and frankly all that was said in the article was true of me…I went hog wild for every ism of the day at the expense of all around me and especially those that depended most upon me…not a pretty picture – nor a pretty wreckage left in the wake -three abortions, two divorces and and a drug addicted son…
    however I have recently come home to the Catholic Church and realize now that all along the way Mother Church and Christ were calling me and never gave up on me….and to Him I say Thank YOU so much and thanks to all the folks who tried to teach me or simply talk to me along the way…Their seeds finally took root through the grace of the Holy Spirit…there are many like me out there – lost and trying to find their way back home….

  • http://jmbalconi.stblogs.com JBalconi

    Rhinestone, thank you for pointing out the credit for Civil Rights. One of my professors at Wayne State (a Boomer) pointed out that she was first taken to Civil Rights marches in a stroller, by her grandmother.

    I have to agree that “blame the Boomers” is a broad brushstroke. My parents are Silent Generation, but most of my peers have Boomer parents. Despite the differences in ages and circumstances – my mama grew up in rural poverty, whereas my best friend’s mama grew up in middle-class Detroit – they had common values and philosophies. They also grew up during a time when American youth culture rose to the forefront; consider that the term “teenagers” made its appearance in the 1940s and became a common concept in the ’50s.

    [You're quite right that even an excerpt, with reversed circs and no context, would be enough for the Dems and mainstream media to stoke fires and destroy careers, and paint whole movements with a terrible brush. But we're supposed to be better than that. -admin]

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Dymphna, ROFL!

    (I think I’ll do the same with anyone who enthuses about Woodstock!)

  • http://www.fromthepulpitofmylife.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

    “But that’s the beauty of life, isn’t it? As a tail-end boomer, it sang to me!” Elizabeth, I feel blessed not to have been at your end of our generation. All that stuff people whine and moan about came later; that is, closer to your end, not mine. So, I stand firmly at my end of the spectrum and say my experience of life has differed greatly from what others have portrayed. Maybe we oldsters were more influenced by the “silent generation” than younger ones.

    “If we can’t remember this much vitriol being aimed at a previous generation—well, it might be that previous generations didn’t deserve it.” Rhinestone, are you implying that an entire group of people DESERVES to be vilified? Hmm-mmm….

    “It also might be that Boomers, with their claims to superior enlightenment and hightened consciousness were just setting themselves up for a fall! Because my generation certainly didn’t live up to its own hype!” What hype was that? When you paint a whole group of people with the same brush, you forget, as just one example, there were those—thousands by the way—who died for their country during Vietnam and there were those who ran to Canada. There’s a beautiful monument in D.C. honoring the Vietnam vets. I’m a Vietnam vet.

  • Alexander

    I’ve always simply seen the plight of the Boomers as a warning to my own generation. It provides plenty of road maps of the roads to avoid. But the Boomers’ certainly don’t deserve all of the blame for today’s problems. The foundations of what intoxicated and afflicted many of them were built by the generations before them. The moral of the story is one that seems to be lost on multiple generations: the truth that ideas have consequences.

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  • Nancy

    [But that's the beauty of life, isn't it? As a tail-end boomer, it sang to me! -admin]
    It sang, it drew and it sculpted!

    End of the tail boomer (1964). Boomers are so responsible for the mess we are in. I was raised by parents 10 years older than most parents were. My brother and I always comment on how lucky we are. We were raised by adults who taught us that living your life with principles and values means living your life well.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Ruth Ann, you are taking this as a personal attack; it isn’t. This isn’t about you, at all. If you, and those close to you, were able to escape much of the Boom Generation craziness, and I thank you for our service to our country.

    On the other hand, I think you probably know the sort of hype I’m talking about: Woodstock, my generation taking credit for the civil rights movement (which it had little to do with), its protests against the Vietnam war (which pretty much ended, when the draft did); it’s hostility towards the very veterans that monument in D.C. was erected to; adopting loons such as Timothy Leary as prophets, the drug culture, sexual liberation, its pushing every progressive cause that came around the bend. . . We’re talking about an entire generation here, not just you and your friends. Again, I’m sorry if you choose to take it personally, but the truth needs to be told, and many in my generation need to do some soul searching.

    And, unfortunately, the influence of the nuttier segment of the Boom Generation is still being felt, in the arts, in journalism, in our drug problems, in much of the nihilism that afflicts our culture today. This needs to be faced.

  • Oblate Annie

    well I guess the deck is stacked here.

    [Then again, how many previous generations have been so dedicated to deconstructing all that came before it? -admin]

    thanks for tarring everybody with one brush, “admin”

  • Cynthia

    I’m a mid-boomer, raised in the midwest, worked hard for everything, and always tried to follow God’s law – sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing. I am a staunch Catholic, conservative, homeschooling mother of three. Woodstock, Vietnam protests, and the SDS are foreign to me and millions of other boomers. Categorizing people according to something no one is able to select such as gender, race, nationality, or BIRTHDATE is abhorent to me. If anyone wants to criticize someone for their beliefs or something else consciously chosen, I’m on. It seems to me most criticisms of boomers are actually criticisms of liberalism.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Again, this is not about individuals. This is about the Boom generation as a whole, which did make some bad mistakes.

  • http://www.fromthepulpitofmylife.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

    To say this is about the Boom generation as a whole is tantamount to saying 9/11 terrorism and its aftermath is about Islam as a whole. It’s not, of course. It’s about Taliban extremists and their ilk. All the negatives about the Boom generation focus on the extremists. Unfortunately for the rest of the generation, the media focused on the extremists, not the majority.

    Conversing with my sister via phone yesterday I asked her if she was at Woodstock or did she know someone who was. No. Me neither. Both of us lived in Chicago, land of our birth, during the infamous Democratic Convention. We didn’t attend the demonstrations, nor did we know anyone who did. If you had asked me where you could get some marijuana I would have been totally clueless.

    Thank you, Cynthia, for your perspective on this topic. I agree.

  • http://doxaweb.wordpress.com Clayton

    Since the focus of the comment box has been almost entirely on who the author references when she writes of the “Boomers,” it might be worth reading what she wrote on her own blog:

    “I should say that my piece is not meant to be an indictment of the whole generation. My task was considering the Boomers who have had the clout in the culture. I’m thinking mainly of the folks who ‘culturized’ the Sexual Revolution – the angry, sneering, self-righteous, dogmatic folks for whom everything in storytelling and art (not to mention education, business and government) is politics and power.”

  • J.

    Ah, but Clayton, she did indict a whole generation by calling them “boomers”. None of us has the ability to control what “generation” we were born in, just as none of us had the ability to control what religion we were born into.

    Therefore, although I was born in the 1950s I do not profess to be a “boomer”. “Angry, sneering, self-righteous and dogmatic” people are of any generation; so the broad brush feel of the piece didn’t convince me that all that was needed is a new “generation” of film makers.

    What was needed is film makers who believe in art and the value of life. Hollywood, in all “generations”, has not had a focus on art or life. The only reason film seems to have “gotten good” is that who can produce motion pictures has changed (for the better). Big studios are fading because what they have to offer is drek. However, drek still sells to the current youth (the “SAW” series is a fine example) and porn is doing wonderfully.

    But smaller studios and independents are getting their chance to change the topic and the mood. Reitman, Apatow and Byrd come from a different era of how to make movies–Reitman made six short films before “Thank you for not smoking” and had to raise the captial for “Thank” on his own. Apatow frequently uses the same cast and crew for his movies (check out how many times Will Ferrell or Seth Rogan appears, for instance) and Byrd can’t be counted as not being a boomer by Nicolosi’s rules–he was born in 1957 and that should make him a “boomer”—however he worked for Disney then TV (did Spielberg’s Amazing Stories) and later Iron Giant then went to Pixar to give them the Incredibles, Ratatouille, and UP. He believes animation is art. (not a genre but art).(by the way he went to school with one of the Pixar founders).

    My point—these people do not represent a generation. They represent ideas and their art. They also express what they believe to be values (2 are Jewish by the way and 2 are Canadian so the values expressed aren’t particularly geared to a culture or a religion).

    Overall Ms. Nicolosi is just wrong; this change hasn’t anything to do with generations–it has to do with the value of great ideas, art and life winning over drek (look it up it’s a great Yiddish word).

  • http://doxaweb.wordpress.com Clayton

    But don’t ideas have a setting in time and place? And a development?

  • J.

    Actually ideas are timeless but rediscovered in time and place. The “new” film folk have rediscovered that a young unmarried pregnant 15 year old can in fact “know what’s best” as well any parent (Juno). That family is stronger than even being a superhero (the Incredibles). That friendship between generations can be stronger than a blood relationship (UP). And most importantly that just because you are a rat doesn’t mean you eat garbage (Ratatouille). Which I like to use this movie idea to equate to this conversation—just because you were born a boomer doesn’t mean you can’t actually have good ideas.

    For my taste, the article tried too hard to condemn a generation. Interesting idea but labored execution.

  • Norris

    Funny. I remember all the “Generation Gap” stories in the news media of the 60′s, born in no small part by the boomer mantra, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.”

    I remember boomers rejecting a generation because of their birth date, and now I see boomers saying it’s wrong to criticize them because of their birth date.

    Ironically, the birth dates are secondary at best. The criticism is not because someone is of a certain age (that’s the boomer’s fixation, apparently). Rather, the criticism is that the overwhelming cultural impact of a given generation has been one infused with a fatuous narcissism that finds faults in all things but itself.

    The Greatest Generations survived 10 years of the Great Depression, 10 years of world war and rebuilding. When they finally found themselves in the 1950′s they sought to provide their children with a comfortable life and protect them from the horrors of the recent past.

    For their efforts they were eaten by their young.

  • http://doxaweb.wordpress.com Clayton

    Some ideas are timeless, but it seems to me that some are rather bound to a particular time and place… and some are rather ephemeral.

    I mean, deconstructionism, nihlism, solipsism, are all rather peculiarly modern (or post-modern). And the expression of these ideas in art is also rather particular to a time and place.

    For example, consider the architecture of the Cathedral of Los Angeles.


    It’s hard to imagine something like it being built in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance… it represents an ethos that is foreign to those times.

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  • Cynthia

    Surely #32 realizes that you can’t make an arguement against people who resent being characterized and categorized by their birthdate, by characterizing and categorizing them by their birthdate! The truth is, not all boomers ran around mindlessly claiming you can’t trust anyone over thirty and not all boomers ‘ate’ their parents. You cannot lump together people born during certain years and maintain that they all share fundamental beliefs and behavior patterns. There are as many differences between members of a given generation as you’ll find between members of different generations. The very concept of a baby boomer ‘type’ is a myth.

  • Norris


    Apparently you are incapable of recognizing that the discussion is not about individuals. It is about the dominant cultural impact of a generational demographic.

    To say that not all individuals exhibit the characteristics of the demographic in which they fall is to say nothing at all about the characteristics of the demographic in general.

    The boomer type does exist, but even if it didn’t exist in given individuals whatsoever, the demographic as a whole still has dominant traits that have impacted culture.

  • J.

    I would debate that a “boomer” type exists. Just as I would debate that a racial “type” exists or a cultural “type” exists. Do you honestly believe that all “whites” do this or that or that “Hispanics” do such and so? If you do you are certainly over-generalizing and doing the groups—which yes exist in a physical sense— a disservice.

    As to whether Nihilism, deconstruction and solipsism existed before “post-modern” times—how far back do we put “post-modern”? Nietzsche would bring us back to the 19th century but Nietzsche and his idea about supermen has Roman roots and maybe even Hindi ones…As for solipsism–the Greeks in the 400s BC were discussing this (i.e. one can only be assured that one’s own mind exists). It also runs through Hinduism and Buddhism so it may well be older. And deconstruction? Think of every ancient culture–Egypt, Babylon, Summer even–especially those that lasted millennia, they all had some form of deconstruction.

    We have a tendency to think we are the only “post-modernists” by definition but every civilization has had a similar period. Just as every “generation” has it’s great people, it’s good people, it’s average people, it’s happy and sad people. I tend not to like to put individuals into “types” as it leads me to think of them just as “types” and not as individuals. And it leads me to think that “types” act as a whole when if fact they don’t.

    What I dislike about labels is that they aren’t specific enough. I am for instance, a woman, a military veteran, someone born in the 1950s, a Masters degree holder, a Christian, a human, a wife, a daughter, a mother, a grandmother…..which of these alone defines me? None. And yet together they don’t even begin to tell you about me. Every individual is the same–they are not their gender, job, geographical birth place, education, religion, or role. So “boomer” is a disservice to a group which has only a 20 year span of birthdates in common.

    Luckily, God doesn’t judge by type either….or at least that is what I have been lead to believe. :-) And quite frankly I prefer to not judge by by type either; not just because it might actually be not a Christian thing to do but also because it’s really “fuzzy” thinking to assume bad ideas are generated by massive group think. Individuals form and profess ideas and from there, individuals extol or decry them. If we begin to think that groups are in fact the originator we can then begin to think that stereotyping is the right thing to do, leading quickly to profiling and finally to discrimination and the ability to mark whole groups for evils in the world (i.e. “never trust anyone over 30″)because it leads to allowing them to, say, either be put into camps (“those evil Jews, gypsies, homosexuals etc”), or persecuted and made to live a second class life (those evil Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc) and eventually executed (see all of the above).

    Many people my age, when younger were foolish. What “generation” can not say this? Let them cast the first “I told you ‘boomers’ were a bad generation”.


  • Norris

    “I would debate that a “boomer” type exists. Just as I would debate that a racial “type” exists or a cultural “type” exists. Do you honestly believe that all “whites” do this or that or that “Hispanics” do such and so? If you do you are certainly over-generalizing and doing the groups—which yes exist in a physical sense— a disservice.”

    I think the problem here is some inability to distinguish between a general statement and a universal statement.

    To say that a “type” exist when speaking generally is not to say that there are no exceptions; of course there will be exceptions.

    I don’t know of anyone who has spoken universally on this subject, which seems to be at the heart of the objections by “J” and Cynthia.

    No one is making a judgement here about individuals. These are judgements about a demographic.

    Of course it would be wrong, both factually and morally, to judge someone because of a “type”. That’s not happening here.

    To speak generally is not to speak universally. General types do exist. This is not rocket science.

    “Many people my age, when younger were foolish. What “generation” can not say this? Let them cast the first “I told you ‘boomers’ were a bad generation”.”

    As far as a general demographic is concerned I would take issue with saying “boomers were a bad generation.”

    Oh if only this were about what the generation did when it was young.

    I would say, “The boomer generation IS a bad generation.”

  • http://www.churchofthemasses.blogspot.com Barb N

    “The queen of Sheba will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here–but you refuse to listen.”

    Don’t you just hate it when people make general statements against a whole generation?

  • Cynthia

    Norris, don’t presume to suggest you know what anyone is incapable of doing.

  • Norris


    “Norris, don’t presume to suggest you know what anyone is incapable of doing.”

    Are you presuming to suggest you know that I’m incapable of doing so?

    Irony is a funny thing

  • http://www.fromthepulpitofmylife.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

    J and Cynthia, both of you expressed very well the frustration of listening to some of the flimsy thinking that goes on when people make generalizations about a whole group. Of course, it happens all the time. Thankfully, God will be our just judge. May we be faithful to the end.

  • Norris

    Ruth Ann, I am very disappointed that you would be so unkind as to attribute “flimsy thinking” to the whole group of people who make generalizations about a whole group of people.

  • Clare

    I’m late to the party, but as usual, I agree with Ms Nicolosi. And of course every generation creates a personality. Which doesn’t mean that every person born in the “Greatest Generation” was/is great nor does it mean every Boomer was/is morally off-center. But as a whole, the Greatest Generation created a moral culture and as a whole the Boomers rebelled and created an amoral culture (is anyone really going to disagree that our culture is lacking in general courtesy and morals at the moment??) And now the next generation is rebelling and trying to find a moral center. And we should encourage them. Who disagrees? Christian boomers should rejoice because saints shine the greatest where they’re needed. God bless those that stayed true despite the culture of their generation. And the ones that come back. Let’s face it, the church doesn’t seem to shine in times of plenty, so let’s look forward to the challenges ahead. We can shine.

  • Alisha

    Much of this discussion seems to have centered around whether or not it is just to blame a generation or demographic for the current state of affairs, and moreover, whether or not it is helpful.
    Regardless of the fact that not all boomers live by the creeds enumerated above (thank God my parents never have), it’s fairly clear that what has dominated popular culture in the past decades has been rife with those creeds. And in an age where there was, overall, fewer adults, less stable marriages etc etc, guess what has had the lion’s share of raising the next generations? Popular culture and the media. That is a problem that is real, and can certainly be attributed to the generation before it: they are, after all, the generation that told those stories, and that permitted that those stories be told.
    In order to move forward in a way that does simply repeat the cycle of rejecting the previous generation’s values just for the sake of something new, it’s important to examine what it is that has resulted from the previous generation’s values and why we want to reject them. The Millenials do not find the results of the boomers rebellion life giving…but surely there are similar reasons why the boomers rebelled: something they saw in their parents’ lives was not life giving. I’m sure they saw genuine hypocrisy and injustice and genuinely hoped to fight those things. Unfortunately, when they went seeking for that elusive “freedom”, they enslaved themselves to all sorts of things, because they didn’t understand the meaning of the freedom they were seeking, who is the Person of Jesus, Himself.
    The same thing could happen to this generation – and thanks to original sin, undoubtedly will, unless the Church decides to have not just a competing voice but a compelling voice, and one that is more beautiful than all the others…This does not require imagination – we have the Truth, no need to reinvent it – as much as it requires courage for Christians to “be who they are” and to understand how to do so to be effective apostles for THIS age. In other words, Christians must know their identity, and if they would be artists, must know the reality, the zeitgeist, of their generation.
    Finally, they must know their craft. To those of you who addressed Newton, I think you both completely missed the point. The first two concerns he listed were lack of skill and discouragement. Your responses were that he 1) not wait around for people to open doors and 2) don’t let anyone tell him how to write his stories. (Barb might say those are rather typical boomer responses – be independent! Don’t rely on anyone!)
    Those responses in no way address what he is asking for. He doesn’t want opportunities given to him; he is looking for knowledge, ways to develop a craft/skill, because he cares about doing things well, and encouragement/pastoral care because it is NOT possible to do it on your own, and certainly not in the current fragmented climate. It has never been easy in any age, but in an age that proclaims there is no such thing as objective truth, there are challenges that are unlike those in other times.
    To those who would contest the need for pastoral care/accompaniment, go read Matthew, Chapter 10 (particularly verse 16) and reflect on why Jesus decided to form a community rather than just zap His word individually to the apostles. If God Himself considered it important enough to come and be Emmanuel, God with Us, perhaps He was saying something crucial about our nature and His will for it – i.e. solidarity and encouragement and human presence are not nice perks to earthly life but essential aspects of it.

  • Alisha

    Finally, it is not acceptable for a generation to say to the younger generation “You are our future; it’s up to you.” This is something I heard scores of times growing up and even when I was quite young, thought, in response: “And what about YOU? YOU left me this world? What are YOU going to do to help us?”
    When you have failed in your own responsibilities to teach that younger generation how to operate, “it’s up to you” is the equivalent of “I wash my hands of my mistakes – and leave you to clean up my mess”.
    How about beginning with humility in admitting that, perhaps, you don’t know how to give us guidance about where to go? Humility is the beginning of wisdom, after all.
    More important, is the question of how can we meet these pastoral challenges, practically? Who is doing or spearheading the prayer work for this? Who is doing/can do the education? Who is committed, if only on a personal level, to mentoring artists, championing them, putting them in contact with a community that supports them financially, artistically and spiritually? Who cares about that? Who is going to make others start to see how essential art is and how we can make it?