They are the offspring of what Tom Brokaw call America’s "Greatest Generation." The Greatest Generation went to WWII to defeat oppressive dictators and save freedom. They are the people who produced and equipped the greatest fighting force known to man by mobilizing our natural resources.
In the peace that followed the war, these same people led the free world in the production of consumer goods. Under their leadership, the United States became the envy of the rest of the world.
Several months ago, I read an editorial in the Macon Telegraph that pointed to the one glaring mistake made by this "Greatest Generation." They failed to pass on to their children their value system, the very thing that made them great, according to the author.
The "Baby Boomers" grew up in a time of prosperity. They grew in a time when most people had more and more disposable income. Maybe you may remember, as I, when the automobile industry put on an extensive ad campaign to justify a family owning a second car. Currently it is not strange to find as many cars in a family as there are members with driver licences.
This prosperity, disposable income and parental attitude of wanting more and more for their children naturally had a great impact on the "Baby Boomers." These have been my target audience since I began preaching in 1950. I have found them to be an interesting group.
The "Baby Boomers" seek personal freedom and individual fulfillment. They are a consumer generation. They want to make as much money as possible and make it as fast as they can. They want the very best of everything. The best food, the best wine at the very best restaurants. They want to live in the largest houses with as many labor saving gadgets as they can afford with the largest loan they think they can afford.
They want the best cars, the very best schools for their children, the best health furnished by the very best sports equipment. They want good vacations in the very best places in the world. In many cases both parents must work to pay for this lifestyle.
Many of these "Baby Boomers" rebel against accepted social graces. They reject things that interfere with their freedom and restrict their self fulfillment. Many reject commitments of any kind. Loyalty and faithfulness are not a part of their core values.
Everything is measured by a "what’s in it for me" attitude. They dismiss the common good. It is "my good" they seek. This attitude may explain the greed that is at the bottom of the financial scandals, such as savings and loan, Enron and the sub-prime mortgage debacle, to name a few.
Slowly, I am coming to believe the theologians who have been proclaiming for years that we are no longer living in a Christian nation in any true sense of that term. Our society is now, or soon will be, an entirely secular one.
Not only will it not be Christian as historically understood, but the community will be openly hostile to what traditionally has been known as Christian. This is nothing new. This is how our understanding of morality, the meaning of the brotherhood of man, the law of love began. It was this way in the beginning. This is our challenge.