Relevant magazine recently posted an article on how most millennials these days are having sex before marriage. Looking at how powerful the energy of sex is, it’s understandable why they aren’t waiting until the average age of marriage for millennials (27-30). While waiting for sex has been— and should be— admired and acknowledged as the ideal that one would hope to keep, the early age of puberty and the later years of marriage, are causing this to feel like an impossible ideal to uphold. At the heart of the loss of virginity before marriage lies a bigger issue in the eyes of millennials, morality/ethics.
Growing up in a relativistic/pluralistic society is a hard way to grow up. Society and elements of the Church are not handing out the black and white absolutes that they had to previous generations. Much of the moral and ethical questions and answers are blurry in the eyes of the person doing these moral and ethical actions. Pluralism/relativism teaches that what might be right for somebody, doesn’t mean it’s right for everybody. This is a hard way to grow up (even though I feel like it’s one of the necessary stages in life. It softens your thoughts and emotions.) Yet, in the midst of all this blurriness, we are a generation of “change” (we are the generation that elected Barack Obama) and we have decided to “occupy” broken areas of society. I am convinced that my generation is trying to figure out who we are in an emerging post-Christian society. And, as the psychologist Carl Jung reminds us, the first step in figuring out who you are is figuring out who you are not.
The types of Christian that we will want to be are not the types of Christians described in the book unChristian,: hypocritical, too focused on getting converts, anti-homosexual, sheltered, too political, judgmental. Part of the millennial mantra is journey, and I figuring out the ethical issues along the way. I believe we will be seeking practical way to live in the word. We might make some concessions or contradictions as to what we believe is right (such as sexuality), in order to serve the greater good. After all, doing things like serving the broken, the needy, the oppressed, will cause us to go to places, that may not “be best for us.” (Example: Hanging out with poor people, might mean eating at McDonalds or shopping at Wal-Mart. Which isn’t loving our bodies or our societies because of their socio and physiological oppression.) No one lives ideally all the time (otherwise, we’d never go to McDonalds, Wal-Mart), so we live in a hard time where we are trying to figure out: How do I serve God the best that I can with the resources that I have? We don’t live in ideal times, so we’re going to have to try and be flexible with our morality, yet still conscious of the effect that our less-than-ideal choices have on the world around us. Ideally, my generation wouldn’t have premarital sex, we would have been raised in a society that valued marriage, and we wouldn’t wait until we’re almost 30 to get married, but we don’t live in ideal times. These are going to be the moral and ethical struggles that my generation is going to have wrestle with.