Millennials have developed a worldview based around pluralism/relativism. The beliefs of pluralism/relativism are engrained in us because we grew up in the postmodern era (for more information, check out Jean-Francois Lyotard‘s The Postmodern Condition). Pluralism/relativism stemmed from an honest look at the human condition and sociological structures resulting from the Enlightenment and the Holocaust. Pluralism/relativism is a reaction to abusive power and absolutist thinking. And, while this worldview has left us with a healthier understanding of structure of leadership and naïve thinking, it has also left us in despair (the millennials are the most depressed generation). It also leaves us deeply disappointed with the previous generations, and in existential angst. Much of our history, our worldviews are disconnected. It also doesn’t lend itself to wise living and thinking.
If the millennial church wants a healthy religious and spiritual structure, it will learn to move beyond this “what’s right for you is right for you, and what’s right for me is what’s right for me” mindset. Rather than dismissing other traditions, other human beings, the healthy millennial Christian will have to learn how to integrate. They must learn how to listen to others and discern the Truth in their perspectives. They must learn that every part of the journey was necessary. Just as pluralism/relativism was necessary to get us over our unhealthy certainty, integration will help us move into healthy confidence in what we believe, while maintaining the respect of pluralism/relativism. Pluralism/relativism allowed us to break free from indoctrination, and integration will move us into wisdom and faith.
More than anything, our ability to discern and integrate will liberate us from the previous periods of our lives. It will allow us to forgive the parts of ourselves that we wish never existed. It allows us to accept and love the people that we see hurting people in the name of God (just as God loves them and accepts them as they are). And, by integrating our own journey, and the wisdom of the traditions around us, we will be able to help others move through their lives much more easily. We will establish healthy leadership structures that didn’t exist before pluralism/relativism, because the leaders will be whole people who can discern whom and what other people need. They won’t be interested in serving their own egocentric causes, they won’t be dualistic in their tribal and ethnocentric causes; rather their love will be for all people. These people will love their enemies; they exist for those experiencing injustice. They will be for all people, not just those who look, act, and talk like them.