2d Generation Pagan
2d Generation Pagan is a term being used more and more today by missiologists, like myself, who study and discern western post-Christendom society(ies). We’ve come to embrace this term because we’ve reached a point where the parents of young adults today really have no earthly clue what Christianity is, or Christians, or Jesus, etc. They’ve not really ever read the Bible, been to church more than a cursory social event (i.e. wedding) where a clergy person says religious stuff everyone has tuned out and cannot understand, because he speaks an insider language he believes all can understand and has no idea how foreign he is to their reality.
Now these adults who’s parents have no faith background are one generation removed – 2d generation pagan. They have no real defined set of faith, moral-ethical, or life constructs. They live life today, deluded by an entertainment consumer culture that neither embraces reflection nor understands it. They drift through life, embraces pieces here and there that are not homogenous and conflict within but to no end. Truth is based upon sincerity of what one feels at the moment.
The result – a society, with many sub-cultures, as people grope at defining and belonging to something, some one… empty, meaningless and therefore, living gratuitous, licentious lives of experiences in an effort to matter and find meaning for even being.
They usually hold to some form of atheism, yet are simultaneously spiritual, as long as there is not God to whom there is obligation, accounting or personality-personage.
If you grip this, and realize how empty and meaningless life in western pagan post-Christian society is, then the music, the shallow trite entertainment, the shallow reasons people tribalize behind empty groups of people – yet never really have real commitment, all makes sense! There isn’t a reason to get out of bed really – except to hopefully have some pseudo-temporal-momentary glimpse of intimacy in some casual-non-commital sexual encounter, where desire is mistaken for love and emotion.
In a society as empty, as broken, and as ignorant to real love, commitment, real romantic love, real friendship love, real meaning, real God… there is a thirst as never before in western civilization for God – even when they do not recognize it.
The religiosity, social piety, spiritual maturity through knowledge and political alignment is found wanting and even contemptuous by 2d generation pagans who see the often abusive power that leaders within these institutions derive.
So – what are we to do? Walk away? Give up? Keep trying to have the best Sunday show to get the largest slice of pie we can from the dwindling “Christian culture” crowd?
At the end of 2011 – staring at 2012, it is time we are awaken to the missiological reality that we are in a 2d generation pagan culture – who raise a 3d generation pagan culture. It is time that we stop acting before thinking, slow it down, spend some good time listening, watching, understanding before engaging, and that we adopt the posture of a missionary: listen to understand, befriend to befriend, love authentically and sacrificially and join God in what He is already doing.
To continue to do the same thing we did decades ago – which got us where we are today by the way – is nuts. We do not need pastors anymore, we need apostolic missionaries leading us all; ones who embrace and empower all five offices of Ephesians 4.11-12, where the apostolic leaders empower the body to “do the work of the ministry” – less clergy, more body life.