A Splendid Rant on Boomers!

A Splendid Rant on Boomers! July 19, 2010

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!

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