Summary: Gen Y are getting married. A wedding talk from a worldview perspective.
Let’s paint a BROAD PICTURE of Generation Y. The fountain of all internet knowledge, WIKIPEDIA, says that Generation Y were born in the mid-1980s through to the early 1990s. Gen Y are the OFFSPRING of the post-World War 2 baby-boomers. They were WEANED on instant communication technologies such as EMAIL and texting. Generation Y like to SOCIALISE using websites such TWITTER and FACEBOOK. Not to mention any names, Gen Y couples especially like to ANNOUNCE their engagement on Facebook.
A CBS REPORT says that Generation Y ‘were raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think your business-as-usual ethic is for the birds […] this generation only takes "yes" for an answer’.
So how do you SPEAK to a Gen Y person in the WORKPLACE? One CHEEKY report says, ‘You do have to speak to them a little bit like a therapist on TELEVISION might speak to a patient. You CAN’T be harsh. You CANNOT tell them you’re disappointed in them. You CAN’T really ask them to live and breathe the company BECAUSE they’re living and breathing themselves and that keeps them very busy. These young people will tell you what time their YOGA CLASS is and the day’s work will be organized around the fact that they have this commitment. So you actually ENVY them. How wonderful it is to be young and have your priorities so clear’.
For the postmodern, Gen Y person life is like a game—or perhaps more like a CARNIVAL where costumes are whimsically changed in order to present a TEMPORARY but convenient face to the world. Indeed, for Gen Y there is NO absolute self, only a never ending parade of MASKS that hide the inner self. Gen Y are living on SHIFTING sand. Gone are the philosophical and social ABSOLUTES that anchored life in certainty. In a shifting, radically MOVING technological world, Gen Y live and move by constantly MORPHING themselves to survive in a pluralistic society.
And so which self is the REAL self? Who is the REAL self to be known and loved by a marriage partner? Is it possible to enter into a RELATIONSHIP of commitment and intimacy when I really DON’T know who I am? In the wedding vows, WHO is the ‘I’ in the ‘I do’? Middleton and Walsh say, ‘Indeed, instead of long-term commitment, the postmodern self just moves on—to the next game, to the next show, to the next relationship (59) […Gen Y does not have] enough self-knowledge to be able to enter into a relationship of committed intimacy with one another (57)’.
Greg and Rachel, LIKE the generations before them, had NO say when they were born—they had no say in the SHIFTING philosophical mood of the 1980s and 90s which shaped their childhood. However, and for us all, the time in which we live is DETERMINED by the providence of God. Paul told the Athenians in Acts 17 that God DETERMINES the times and exact places where people live and he did this ‘so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us’ (Acts 17:26–27).
Greg and Rachel have REACHED OUT and found the God who made them, for by grace, he was NEVER that far away. And the God who made them also CALLED them into the kingdom of his Son. And so Greg and Rachel are NOT typical Gen Y people—they are distinctively CHRISTIAN, Gen Y people swimming against the postmodern tide. And with this call to HOLINESS comes enormous JOY, serious RESPONSIBILITY and a call to MISSION—and I briefly want to talk about these three points today.
First, the JOY of marriage. It’s possible for non-Christian COUPLES to have a great marriage—but its NOT possible to realise the full potential of marriage outside relationship with God. For marriage is a GIFT from God. Marriage is a life-long COMMITMENT to one another. Marriage is a move away from SINGLENESS into a relationship with another person, who incidentally is of the opposite sex. And this relationship is to be maintained ‘unto death do us part’.
God designed marriage to MIRROR the very essence of himself. Selwyn Hughes writes, ‘God is invisible, intangible, and inaudible. He can’t be seen, he can’t be touched. He has designed us in such a way that the closer and purer our relationships, the more we will understand him. In marriage God has developed a plan that […] enables a man and a woman to have a clearer picture of God than they had when they first began’.
And so the man BECOMES the minister to his wife, making God more real; and she becomes the MINISTER of God to him, giving him a clearer picture of how much he is LOVED and respected by God. In this cradle of relationships comes much joy and pleasure.