“From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.” (Luke 12:52)
I was chatting with a Millennial the other day. Millennials, if you haven’t noticed, are popular in corporatized America. This group of people — loosely defined as being born between the 1980s and the early 2000s, eclipses the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), because we’re getting older now, and not spending as lavishly.
Boomers are also being dropped by corporate America because some of us, after learning about life during our impressionable years through the Andy Griffith Show, The Partridge Family, and One Day at a Time, have started to realize that what we see on TV and movies is . . . make believe, and life doesn’t resemble, at all, the perception-shaping world of Hollywood. Slowly, incrementally, but doggedly, we’re waking up.
Some of us, that is. Many remain asleep, content in thinking that things are fine, because the pension check arrived on time (Millennials — don’t hold out any hope, unless you secure a government job with benefits), and life is just like it was during Leave It to Beaver days. If the Millennials can’t get a decent paying job, it’s because they’re lazy, and they wear inappropriate clothes, and they talk back to adults in a manner that we Boomers, raised by members of the Greatest Generation (those who survived World War II and are glorified in cinema) would never have dared.
It’s a generation gap, we say, but like all divisions — political, religious, gender, racial — it’s tenuous, and maintaining the distance, distrust, and tension requires a lot of work on the part of people who make it their place to shape the attitude of a nation. To keep up divisions requires emphasizing our differences — one of my favorite Facebook memes to hate is the one that says, “If I ever spoke to my dad the way kids do today, I would have been slapped across the room,” as if
1) being slapped across a room is a good thing
2) we had nothing to do with raising the kids of today,
but it’s remarkably effective in strengthening an existing Us vs. Them relationship, Us Older Ones (but we still look and dress young!) vs. Those Immature Shallow Things.
Divisions between people exist — and indeed, some should not be torn down. Embracing, enabling, and empowering evil people whose primary goal is to play god, control others, and grab a far bigger piece of pie than they could ever eat, is not wise, but we continue to genuflect before them.
When Jesus told His listeners, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division,” (Luke 12:51), He was not fomenting hatred based upon skin color, “lifestyle choices,” or even religious ablutions (all distractions), but stating that, when you take a stand for goodness, fairness, compassion for the weak, humility, and true justice, you engender the hatred of those who do not want, or value those things.