I know, the title sounds completely arrogant and self-righteous. Hope you read this anyway.
Usually when someone writes a diatribe against young people in any culture, it tends to come from the assumption that oldness — a commitment to anything traditional or old-fashioned — is superior to the new. Just so you know, I’m not that guy.
Actually, I disdain oldness for a very specific reason related to my disappointment with my generation. Oldness is all about preserving the culture of the past for the sake of it being how it used to be. Contrast that with newness — a commitment to anything progressive or counter-cultural. Oldness is concerned with what is believed to be tried and true, but newness is concerned with experimentation or trial-and-error.
My disdain of oldness is that its proponents have touted the tried but untrue, resulting in the emergence of a new generation committed to aimlessness and triviality. The old generation consisted of truth-seekers, while my generation consists of wanderers who embrace the idea of journeying but have no intention of reaching a destination.
If you think about it both are forms of trendiness, which the progressive counter-culture allegedly rejects but doesn’t. Both stifle creativity, being more reactionary than trailblazing. Both find their identity and thrive in rejecting one another, but this also means they can never exist without one another. All the while, oldness knows that it is old. Newness, on the other hand, is a hypocrite.
This is a philosophical conundrum. Culture is constantly moving between the polar opposites of newness and oldness. Do we forge ahead or return to old paths? If we return to old paths, we hinder good progress. If we continue to forge ahead, how many more creative forms of sin must we construct before we feel satisfied in our novelty? This is an issue our postmodern culture is currently facing, which is why postmodern culture gravitates toward retrofitting things of the past (e.g., Nintendo emulators on iPhones).
Where are we headed in the future? Cultural analysts love asking that question, but they’re asking the wrong question. The question they should be asking is, “Where will we end up?” The question of where we’re headed is concerned with the journeying and not necessarily the destination. But if there is no destination or no way to get there, then why journey to begin with? The point is that the soul’s ache for creativity, journeying, and forging ahead means that we are created and designed for a destination.
The worldview of the Bible answers this conundrum. Proponents of oldness love to quote the Bible in their defense of oldness, but did you know that the Bible is infinitely far more progressive than postmodern culture will ever be? The Bible not only calls us to return to old paths for the sake of their being old, but because those old paths point to a Creator God who is the originator of all that is new (e.g., Isa 42:9, 43:19, 48:6; Ps 98:1, 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 149:1).
God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning (of oldest old) and the end (of newest new). He is outside of time, meaning that he is not bound by time. As such, he is the only one who is truly able to bring newness to bear on the old. While we merely reinvent, he recreates. If we truly wanted to be progressive, we would go with him instead of constantly trying to rehash ourselves and our cultures in search of some semblance of a new identity.