.::Catch Phrases & Worldviews

Rick Acthley says that you can tell a generation from their catchphrases.  For example, in the 1960’s you had “Groovy,” in the 1970-80s you had “Cool,” and in the 90s we had “Awesome.”

But recently, we have seen “Whatever” come in to vogue.  What Achtley notices and concludes is that “Whatever” is not just a catch phrase, but a WORLDVIEW.  You see “Groovy” reflected the easy-going nature of the adolescents of the 50s&60s.  “Cool” showed the laid back spirit of the 70s&80s.  “Awesome” reflects some of the promise and prosperity of the 80s&90s.

So it begs the question:  Does “whatever” show a cynicism and state of entitlement of up and coming generations?  Have we failed the next generation with boomer mentality and moral bankruptcy?  Do today’s teens really NOT care because we haven’t given them anything to really care for?

Perhaps theologian and sociologist, Tony Campolo, has it right when he makes the observation that the American family has gotten smaller (2.5 kids to 1.9 kids per American family, but the American home per square footage has gotten larger and larger.  What Campolo suggests is that our incessant quest for stuff, materialsim and more space for our junk has perhaps left us morally bankrupt, apathetic to real social needs, lost and lonely without community.  And in the background of the tragedy stand our adolescents who have keenly observed this sadness and have rightly concluded that our quest has been empty.  Their response has been an resounding, “whatever.”

I hope and pray that upcoming generations can get something to get excited about.  Perhaps that will be the resurgence of Social Justice issues like Rwanda or Uganda, ir dive in to Civil Rights issues like stopping the sex slave trade in southeast Asia through organizations like Internaional Justice Mission.  Those are the kinds of things that really feed one’s souls and gives one’s life not only purpose and mission, but when one is involved in such things, they can “feel the pleasure of God.”*

And perhaps, that “Whatever” of this generation can turn into a “Wow”!

*Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire


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