Baby boomer Tom Ehrich believes many in his generation are “addicted to control” and should rightfully cede power to the younger set. This is true in political life, and also in our churches, he writes:
At a stage in life when God wants us to “dream dreams,” we are fighting against change and empowering demagogues who use our control issues as cover for their soak-the-people, feed-the-rich schemes – including playing political football with our own Medicare and Social Security benefits.
I see this most clearly in mainline Protestant churches, which are literally dying under the weight of old ideas, old methods, old expectations, and old leaders who behave as if they would rather see their congregations die than yield control.
Healthiest congregations tend to be startups, not because young startup pastors are more capable, but because they don’t have older members standing in their way.
I see it in suburban communities where older taxpayers are rejecting school spending that would benefit a younger generation’s children.
I see it in progressive seminaries, where older leaders are still fighting feminist battles in a post-feminist era. I see it in the Roman Catholic Church, where old men are forcing yet another generation to fight the abortion battle that gave them purpose after Vatican II.
I saw it in crowd shots at both parties’ national conventions. In a nation where the average age is said to be 25 and the nonwhite presence is growing, both parties seemed oddly old and, at the GOP’s convention, oddly white.
I doubt that younger cadres are any wiser or more skilled. Many, in fact, are proving unprepared for complex decision-making. But the answer to that is training and experience on the job, not exclusion.
I doubt that today’s fresh ideas have magical properties. Some new ideas in technology seem shallow and trivial. But fresh ideas at 25 can mature into better ideas at 35 — if their creators are allowed air to breathe.
In what seems like another lifetime, we once shouted for attention and demanded that older cadres get out of our way. Fine. That’s what youth does. But we are still shouting for attention, still demanding control. Why?
I think many are addicted to control. By that I mean an addiction comparable to alcoholism, an addiction we will feed at any cost even though it makes our lives unmanageable.
Read full post here. What do you think?