Posted in End of the World Prophecies, New Kids, New World, world changes

Millennials and Generation Z – Lying in Wait

As part of his recent address to youth in honor of World Youth Day, Pope Francis “issued a rousing and impassioned call to action… saying our unsettled times require them to get off the couch and ‘set out on new and uncharted paths.’( National Catholic Reporter, July 30, 2016)” Whereas the Pope’s address went on to praise the unique gifts of the millennial and Z generations and the ways in which we need them as a world to bring forth positive change (https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-makes-rousing-call-millennials-get-couch-and-fix-world), I found myself insulted (on behalf of all millennials and Generation Z’s) when the Pope accused them of being “couch potatoes” and “confusing happiness with the sofa.”

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This “couch potato” accusation is often leveled against millennials and Gen Z’s, I believe unjustly. In my experience “couch potato” could not be farther from the truth.  Instead, the millennials (and the Gen Z’s who are following suit) are one of the hardest working generations that I have ever encountered (at my ripe young age of 51).  The problem is that many choose to view these children and young adults through the lens of their own generations’ values and how they defined work and productivity.  It is completely unfair to view millennials and Gen Z’s through this lens as they have been born into a completely different time with a whole new set of societal problems and ways to meet those problems.  In fact, the millennials are here for the sole purpose of cleaning up the mess created by the generations before them and the Gen Z’s are here to build the world anew.  How would you like to be saddled with this mission?  Think about that next time you are tempted to call the millennials and Gen Z’s lazy!

Who exactly are the millennials? According to Pew Research, the millennials are those who came into adulthood around the year 2000.  Generation Z are those born after 1996/97.  The millennials are already out there working on their mission.  The Generation Z’s are lying in wait as the world around them is dying so that after it has all crumbled around them, they can step into the missions they came here to complete.

Where we have been:

Whereas the past 150 years have been exceptional in what we have accomplished by way of industrial and technological advancements, serious and perhaps irreversible damage has been done to our world, our cultures, the air we breathe, the soil from which we harvest our nourishment, our environment, our water, our people and all other species for the sake of “advancement.” The damage that we have done to the world and to one another has reached a critical level and if we do not do something soon to reverse it, we will destroy ourselves.  The structures we have created to support these systems are in the midst of imploding upon themselves (government, education, healthcare, food production and distribution, energy production, institutional religion, manufacturing, corporations, banking, monetary systems, etc.).  We need only look at the farce the US Presidential election has become to see evidence of this impending collapse.  None of these systems will be able to sustain themselves if they continue along the path they have been traveling, and at this point, it is far too late to do anything to reverse their course…the avalanche is now out of control and on a course towards its own destruction.

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This is where the millennials and Gen Z’s come in.

If we would take the time to get to know the millennials and Gen Z’s, we would see the profound gifts they have brought into the world and how they have been lying in wait, itching to do the work they came here to do. For one thing, the millennials and Gen Z’s came into the world with a profoundly different perspective than those before them.  For the majority of this population, there is NO perception of separation – all human beings are valued as equal – male, female, gay, straight, black, white, Christian, atheist, American, Syrian, etc.  While they find their “tribe,” they do not discriminate against those with different interests, beliefs, etc.  They allow and are comfortable with diversity in a way that drastically differs from those before them.  With this lack of separation, they are global thinkers….thinking globally rather than locally, while also privileging local when it comes to their purchasing power.

Secondly, millennials came into the world KNOWING the world they were supposed to be living in. Unfortunately, they quickly learned that THIS world is NOT the world they know in their hearts – the world that feels like home to them.  THIS world does not feel like home, so they find worlds that do feel like home – worlds where there is magic, comradery, cooperation and harmony.  While the world that feels like home does include “conflict,” the conflict is there for the sake of growth, not so as to harm the world or to harm another.  All the time we might be tempted to believe they are just lying around, they are in fact, surrounding themselves with what feels like home.  I believe that this is exactly what millennials and (especially) Gen Z’s are supposed to be doing right now.  It is through these activities that they are preparing for their ultimate mission and purpose.

As I see it, the millennials and Gen Z’s are here for two purposes: the oldest among them are here to be hospice to the dying world, the youngest are here to build something new.

Instead of hurling accusations upon the millennials and Generation Z’s as being couch potatoes, let us welcome them for their profound gifts – gifts they are busy cultivating while others are busy judging. While many are tempted to believe the millennials and Gen Z’s are just lying around playing video games, Snapchatting their friends, watching TV, playing Pokemon-Go, they are in truth, lying in wait – visioning, dreaming, researching and planning how and what they will be doing to build the new world –  once we get our asses (and our judgment) out of the way!

(c) copyright 2016 Lauri Ann Lumby, Authentic Freedom Academy. www.authenticfreedomacademy.com.

 

 

 

 

Posted in church, Raised Catholic, Spiritual Formation

Special Edition – Sexual Abuse by Priests

Heeding the Spirit

Apparently the Holy Spirit is not going to let me rest until I write this post.  After reading an article in today’s National Catholic Reporter on a new policy recently released by the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City regarding issues of sexual abuse: http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/kansas-city-its-d%C3%A9j%C3%A0-vu-all-over-again, my Catholic undies got all up in a bundle and I find I have to concur with the other readers of NCR who are wondering, “Really, how about owning and fixing the problem?”  So I’m going to beg pardon for my ego which admittedly may be partially to blame for this post, and I might run the risk of getting up on my Catholic soapbox, and waving the flag of my moral self-righteousness…..BUT…..the abuse of innocent children, teens, young adults AND women by Catholic priests HAS GOT TO STOP!  No matter how many regulations or guidelines are developed and put into place by the Catholic Bishops around the world, the issue still remains: priests are abusing people and they are getting away with it.

Why I can speak with some authority on the subject

For those of you that don’t know…..I was raised Catholic.  Went to nearly 12 years of Catholic School.  Studied theology and Spiritual Direction through the Catholic Church. Was commissioned as a Lay Minister.  AND served as an official, paid, lay ministerial employee of the Catholic Institution for 10+ years.  I’ve been there and I’ve seen it.  While the veiled illusion of Catholic impecibility remained, the Church was god and could do no wrong in my eyes.  Then I worked within the Institution.  Talk about an awakening.  After working within the bureaucratic establishment of the Institution, I have developed a few theories about why priests abuse and why they keep getting away with it.

1) Because they can.  Diocesan priests are taught that they are the representative of Christ on this earth and that they are above all others.  In fact, one priest told me that they get to go to “heaven” before the rest of us…simply by virtue of their ordination….regardless of their sinfulness or lack thereof.  In other words, they get the “get out of jail free card” while the rest of us have to burn our way out of purgatory.  Now, I don’t personally believe any of this….but other people DO!  The priest is god…can do no wrong….”would never touch a child…”  And no one questions their moral character or lack thereof.  In fact, when rumors are going around about “Father…and that young boy,” instead of doing something about it, Catholics are taught to look the other way.

2) COMPLETE lack of sound Spiritual Formation – I think this is actually the root cause of sexual abuse by priests.  I can’t say that this is true of all priests (and certainly not so for religious order priests), but in the diocese in which I worked, priests received 7+ years of theological training in preparation for their ordination.  In those seven years….they received NO spiritual formation.  But isn’t religious formation (ie theology, dogma, doctrine, rites, etc.) the same as spiritual formation.  NO NO NO ….  and here is part of the problem, most people think they are one in the same.  Religious formation is learning the teachings of a particular faith tradition.  Spiritual Formation is learning – Who am I?  How do I understand God and what is my personal relationship with this God? and What are my gifts and how am I being called to use them?  When sound spiritual formation is made available we learn such things as:

  • What is my sexual orientation and how am I called to live that out?
  • Am I called to celibacy or marriage?
  • What causes me anxiety, fear, stress and how do I respond when in a stressful state?
  • What do I need in the way of support, nurturing, healthy intimacy and how am I called to seek that out?
  • How do I stay out of my ego and rely on God?
  • How do I discern what is of God and what is of the ego?

Get the picture?  If sound spiritual formation were provided in priestly formation……tendencies toward pedophilia, acting out in inappropriate sexual ways, the call to healthy, sexual, intimate partnering would all be discovered…and the priest candidate would be turned away……AH HA….probably the reason spiritual formation IS NOT provided.  Who wants to lose a potential candidate in an already declining field?

3)Lack of Accountability See #1, but also recognize that a Catholic priest is accountable to no one but their bishop….and no bones about it, it is a good ole boys club.  They do everything they can to protect their own.  One priest I know asked for a leave of absence to discern a potential call to marriage.  The bishop’s response, “Why don’t you make her your housekeeper?”  WHAT?????  ARGH!!!!!  Gag me!   Another priest when he retired was reported in the diocesan newspaper as moving into his vacation home with his long-time companion and housekeeper.  Accountability?  NOT.  And as we have seen by the news reports, when questions are raised, the hierarchy tries to hide it, sweep it under the rug, or worse yet, move the priest to another parish where he can start raping other children.  The saddest thing is that the laity (the people in the pew) have no say in any of this.  Their hands are tied.  They are powerless.  Yes, they can speak, yell, demand change….but nobody is really listening.

4) OVER WORK and UNDER SUPPORTED Here, I have to give one over to the priests.  These poor guys.  Because of the unwillingness of the Vatican to change their rules on ordination (allowing women, married men to be priests), the poor few who have responded to the call and are trying to do an honest job are worked to death!  6-7 days a week from sun up to sun down (less the Pastor’s nap), they are on call…every minute of every day…AND they are expected to be able to do it all – preach, teach, heal, counsel, run a business, entertain, promote, market, evangelize, do works of service, etc. etc. etc.   And guess what….not all of these men have all these gifts…so they muddle along trying to make an impact….and then they get burned out.  To make matters worse, they are supposed to be cultivating healthy, intimate, supportive relationships OUTSIDE the parish.  When are they supposed to do this?  There is literally NO time.  The only people they know are their parishioners…and in a moment of weakness, vulnerability, anxiousness…who are they supposed to turn to?  Get the picture.  The Catholic Church is killing the few decent priests we have left….and that is a horrible shame.

No Answers Here

In the end, I do not know how the Vatican is ever going to solve the problem of sexual abuse by their priests.  With an institution based in power and control, run through fear and intimidation, what else do they expect?  Top down power runs the show and the men are in charge.  As long as it wants to hang on to its power, the Vatican has no motivation to ever make any effective or lasting change.  All will remain the same until every last celibate priest is dead or in jail and the laity are standing there with hands open going, “Now what?  Who is going to say the mass for us?  Who is going to teach, preach, heal, minister to the poor?”  HHHMMMMM   Maybe we will be the ones doing it….and perhaps this has been the Holy Spirit’s plan all along!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com