Saturday, October 13, 2007

Odyssey Generation

Ever since the author Ken Dychtwald popularized the term "Baby Boomers", we have been obsessed with labelling and categorizing generational cohorts, especially in the church: boomers, busters, genX, genY, millenials, emergents, blah, blah, blah. So much of the labelling is purely for marketing reasons; to get people into our building and enrolled in our programs with attractive music and material, graphics and videos.
Last week NYT's columnist David Brooks wrote an article about a new term for young adults beween 21 and 45 called "The Odyssey" generation. He pointed to a new sociological study by Robert Wuthnow titled "After the Baby Boomers: How 20 & 30 somethings are shaping the future of American religion". I immediately ordered a copy and started reading it this week. Here are some of the great earlly quotes:
"there is simply no evidence that younger adults currently have been decisively shaped by a particular historical event in thesame way that the baby boomers were by the Vietnam war."
"there were 105.3 million Americans betwen the ages of 20 and 44 in 2002, compared with only 68.6 million in 1972"
"completing all the major life transitions (leaving home, finishing school, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having a child) was achieved by only 46% of women and 31% of men age 30 in 2000, compared with 77% of women and 65 % of men in the same age in 1960"
"The single word that best describes young adults' approach to religion and spirituality- indeed life- is tinkering. A tinkerer puts together a life from whatever skills, ideas, and resources that are readily at hand. Tinkeres are the most resourceful people in any era, but they do not rely on only one way of doing things."
This is an author to pay attention to.


At 12:48 PM , Blogger kent said...

In the church we have made assumptions and enginered programs based on the fact people reached an age of stability. Once thye were adults they behaved in predictablepatterne. If they are indeed the tinkers then these patterns and assumptions are no longer valid and our methodolgy, not so much our theology is going to change. This could be a bumpy ride.


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