by David Wraight
In 1990 a young author named Douglas Coupland released a book titled ‘Generation X: Tales of an Accelerated Culture’. The book was such an accurate analysis of the youth culture of the 90’s that it quickly became a best seller. The media, social commentators, youth specialists and popular writers were in a frenzy – finally they had a term to label the youth community of the western world. ‘Generation X’ was born and Douglas Coupland became an overnight celebrity.
Of course Douglas Coupland didn’t stop writing after releasing his first best seller, since Generation X he has released two more books: ‘Shampoo Planet’, and his latest, ‘Life After God’. Life After God in particular is a confronting and poignant book. It continues to analyse and describe the post modern youth culture with a specific focus on young adults. He identifies the young adult community as “the first generation raised without religion”. He deals with issues of loneliness, lack of purpose and meaning, collapse of relationships, anxiety and apathy.
Towards the end of the book he continually refers a secret that he wishes to share with his readers, but he is waiting for the right moment to share it. As he moves on in his analysis of the basic lostness of the current young adult generation, he finally gets to the point where he is ready to share his secret. The following is what he shares:
Now – here is my secret: I tell it to you with an openness of heart that I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray that you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God – that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me to give, because I am no longer capable of giving; to help me to be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me to love, as I seem beyond being able to love.
Douglas Coupland, one of the most incisive and popular social commentators on the youth community of the Western World, has arrived at a conclusion: that he and his generation are emotionally, relationally and spiritually bankrupt – and what does he see as the answer to their desperate need – a relationship with God!
Jesus said “blessed are those who hunger and thirst…. for they will be filled.” Coupland has described the deep hunger and thirst of the “generation beyond God”. My deepest desire is that the young people or our world will receive a gift that will quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger – the greatest gift ever offered to humankind – Jesus.