Each generation starts with a very different knowledge base. It is as if the previous generation established a table full of dishes with data and information, ready for consumption. There are exotic tidbits mixed in with the mundane that, as consumed, allow anyone who takes it on to leap forward in ways that previously were never imagined. This has been true for centuries yet the technology enablers of the past fifteen years have significantly accelerated the process. Other factors also come into play.
The stronger knowledge base, different in quantity, depth, scope, complexity, and possibilities, creates a dynamic tension between the generations that is growing far more rapidly than anyone naturally realizes. Each generation “assumes” that their starting point is known and understood by others, especially their parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents. Unfortunately this assumption is totally misplaced. My generation is still coming to grips with the possibilities of computers and web-based communication. My parents are struggling to understand how it works. The new generations know that this way of sharing ideas, keeping in touch, and growing together has and always will be!
There is a different side to this that is implicitly more obscure. In my experience I find people today open to communication on a much broader spectrum than at anytime in memory. When I was a child one “knew” exactly how messages were received and delivered. Parent child discipline? There were only one or two explicit ways. Falling in “love”? Again, one used to know and understand that there were a limited number of ways of sharing things close to your heart. Today everything is possible. Web cams, SMS texts, real-time chat with wifi links all come into play; yesterday’s tools setting the stage for tomorrow’s possibilities.
Yet for all our progress the core building blocks are still the same. When we relate to Divinity “we got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, this endless knowing and understanding—all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.” (John 1.17) The question is; will we use everything we have at hand?