Monday, March 19, 2007

Talkin' About My Generation

Regarding the current woes of American Christendom, I have often made the comment on this blog that the Church in the West will not recover until my soon-to-be-late-and-unlamented Boomer generation does the world a kindness by finally passing away. As it was for the generation of the Exodus, who had to strew the desert with their corpses before Israel could enter the Promised Land, so it is with us. Dr. Mabuse has found the appropriate quote from, of course, Chesterton that clarifies my point far better than I ever could myself:

Chesterton wrote the definitive portrait of the Boomer generation, way back in 1921. These are the people who now own the Episcopal Church in the US and the Anglican Church in Canada, and this is why it is vain to hope for wisdom and maturity among them, no matter how many years they're given:

“A generation is now growing old, which never had anything to say for itself except that it was young. It was the first progressive generation - the first generation that believed in progress and nothing else…. [They believed] simply that the new thing is always better than the old thing; that the young man is always right and the old wrong. And now that they are old men themselves, they have naturally nothing whatever to say or do. Their only business in life was to be the rising generation knocking at the door. Now that they have got into the house, and have been accorded the seat of honour by the hearth, they have completely forgotten why they wanted to come in. The aged younger generation never knew why it knocked at the door; and the truth is that it only knocked at the door because it was shut. It had nothing to say; it had no message; it had no convictions to impart to anybody…. The old generation of rebels was purely negative in its rebellion, and cannot give the new generation of rebels anything positive against which it should not rebel. It is not that the old man cannot convince young people that he is right; it is that he cannot even convince them that he is convinced. And he is not convinced; for he never had any conviction except that he was young, and that is not a conviction that strengthens with years.”

- G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News of July 9, 1921