The Me Generations
I'm a member of the Me Generation. The Baby Boomers (those of us born between 1945–1960) earned that moniker by throwing off the mantle of institutional authority. We didn't trust anyone over 30 and we had little use for organized anything. Government, higher education, law enforcement, the military, the judiciary, banking, and the church were all highly suspect. However, we really liked getting our own way, so we were perfectly willing to "use" any of these institutions to get what we wanted. And it's a funny thing, but our children mostly followed in our footsteps as have their children. Today, there isn't one Me Generation ... there are at least three.
The institutions have all done their best to turn the generations around, to make them more compliant and less self-focused, but so far they haven't found the cure.
The truth is, though, we're not the first Me Generations ... self-centeredness is a way of life that's been front and center of every generation from the time Adam and Eve decided they'd rather do things their way. Self-centeredness has been a built-in feature of every human being since then.
Then here comes Jesus ... the model of sacrifice. If ever there was anyone who was not self-centered it was him.
So ... why did he tell us the first and greatest commandments included: "Love your neighbor as yourself"?
You may remember the first part of the greatest commandments was "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and spirit."
Why didn't he make the other part "Love your neighbors with your heart, soul, mind, and spirit" as well? Instead he added those two little words "as yourself." The implication is that we're supposed to love ourselves. And to be fair, that doesn't seem very "Jesus-like." I mean, he gave it all ... But then, he is the one who said that he came so that we could have a full, meaningful, purposeful, abundant life.
This week's conversation launches a new five-week series on what it takes to get that "abundant life" Jesus promised ... and we'll start by looking at the paradox of the Me Generation, because ... maybe it's not so wrong to put ourselves first.