Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Gnostic Generation

This link goes to an essay by John R. Mabry in Contexts and Cultures. I happened upon it while doing research for my Intro to GenX class.

An excerpt from the conclusion:

By understanding Xers’ well-founded distrust of authority, spiritual directors and other leaders can be truly supportive of their spiritual journeys, accepting that such journeys may lead into very different places than their own. After all, it is a very different world into which Generation X was born. The rewards of such ministry will benefit all generations, not simply Generation X. For if dialogue between the generations can be initiated and maintained, Xers can gain from the hard-won experience of their elders, while elder generations will benefit from the very real and important spiritual gifts unique to Generation X: a prophetic voice that tolerates no guile and provides an important corrective to the idealism of the Boomers.

The spirituality of Generation X entertains a distinctly realized eschatology, grounding spirit and vision in the here and now. Instead of painting vast visions of the millennial kingdom, Xers will be found in soup kitchens feeding the homeless in their own neighborhoods; rather than forging expensive governmental programs which may or may not benefit those they are intended to assist, Xers are more likely than any other generation to volunteer their efforts locally to help those less fortunate.

Far from being a morally corrupt generation, Xers have a deep sense of community and spirituality, one that tolerates no subversion, and is at the same time eager to make a difference where the difference can be seen. Spiritual directors can be powerful allies in helping this troubled generation reach their full potential by companioning them with understanding, mentoring them with equanimity, and supporting their efforts to find meaningful community on their own terms.

The Gnostic writer who wrote Thunder: Perfect Mind so many centuries ago may as well have been speaking for Generation X when he or she wrote:

Give heed to me.
I am the one who is disgraced
and the great one.
Give heed to my poverty and my wealth.
Do not be arrogant to me
when I am cast out upon the earth,
And you will find me in those that are to come.


  • I thought you might find this article interesting.


    It's by a professor I had in college. Although it's from 2001, there's still some great info in there. And I'm sure he'd be willing to provide you with some more up-to-date analysis if you emailed him.


    He is really into the generational gap that developed through the 60's and Margaret Mead's "Culture and Commitment". Mead really helps to understand the Generational Gap that Gen x (and now Y)and their parents are going through.

    And if you're interested, here's a piece I wrote last year about Gen Y. http://progressiveresourcecatalog.org/index.php/SelectFamily/Article2

    It's not Gen X, but you can definitely see the parallels between the two.

    Keep up the great work!

    By Blogger Ian, At 3:26 PM  

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