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“THEY ARE HERE” – OUR CHILDREN ARE HERE AN ANALYTICAL SURVEY OF THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GENERATION X- PLUS and The Role of Men in the Future of Society II Being Bishop Cyril C. Okorocha’s Presidential Address at just concluded All Anglican Mens’ Conference held at Christ Church Owerri.

follow the Master. Follow me and you will not get it wrong! II Tim. 3:14-17; I Cor. 4:16; 11:11.

But when we look around, we cannot but ask:

Is this the faith once delivered or are they following another?  Our Lord Jesus predicted as well as warned about these evil times:  “Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold” Matthew 24:12.  The tendency is to say, if you cannot beat them join them!  But Paul argues, “that everybody is doing it does not make it right!” Others will say, take necessary precautions; you will not be caught out.  The preachers and prophets of our day do not say: “flee fornications and adultery as sins that lead to hell and destroy both physical and spiritual well being”;   – but “practice safe sex” – ‘stick faithfully to one partner’, in line with your chosen sexual orientation.  This is the new way of thinking for a Church that has been absorbed by the world, which has lost direction, and become irrelevant!  Alas.

f)         The Need For Genuine Disciples – Those Willing To Follow: The outgoing generation need the encouragement of true and spiritually hungry disciples – those eager to learn. We need those who like young Timothy will take the advice to flee youthful lusts in spite of the spread of the new culture! The Roman Christians, who lived among homosexual and in drunken Nero’s decadent Rome, who endured privations and risked capital punishment for social non-conformity, were charged not to conform to this world, but rather be transformed by the renewal of their minds.  In modern paraphrase, it could be rendered thus:

Do not let the world of your day beat you into its own mould so as to resemble it;

Rather, show yourselves to be superior to it by allowing the values of the Kingdom of God to which you really belong – if you do – to inform your thinking and regulate your behaviour in every situation.

This is how to show yourselves to be the people of God by being what you are made to be and making God happy by doing what he has called you to do!     Rom. 12:1-3

How we need to read and practice this text day by day and at the beginning of each new assignment – when you take on a new job: as a Permanent Secretary; a Commissioner; a Governor, etc. where you are today, ask yourself ‘who pulls my strings’ Remember: Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and for ever! Heb. 13:8. Our children are here – generation X- plus, they are waiting for our example to show them where to plant their own footsteps. They will follow us only after they have considered the consequences of our life style! That is scriptural. Heb. 13:7

Our Lord Jesus warned that this would not be easy.  Yet, he insisted that it is only those who endure to the end that will be saved:  Matt. 24:13.  Hence, He went on to advice his true disciples to stay close to him:  ‘Abide in me … and let my words abide in you (John 15:1-7).  This is important as it is only through the strength He supplies that we can be truly successful (Phil. 4:12,13).

3.1       The Rise of Folk Religion and the Emergence of African “Generation X”

a)         The Emergence of Generation X: When what we describe as “Globalisation” today was in its incipient stages in the early 1960’s, just before Martin Luther King’s freedom March, we did not know what to call it. That was the period of African American frenzied search for socio-ideological identity. Many of them who came into world prominence, by some personal but mysterious tour de force, such as Cassius Clay, asserted their rights and thus drew the much desired attention to themselves on their personal merits, no longer a stereotypical chip of an amorphous entity, changed their names. Cassius Clay became Mohammed Ali, even if he did not know where in “Africa”, his pedigree belonged, at least he had a name he had chosen and which, ironically, he believed  to be African! Ali’s cartheson error, conspicuous in its display of the very self amnesia he set out to debunk, led others, Malcolm, for instance to insist that, I don’t know who I am, I don’t want to be who they say I am. I am Mr. X. call me Malcon X from now on. He was the classic prototype of his generation. Just as Wole Soyinka, angry at himself for being born a Nigerian at a period when the whole nation was enveloped in socio-political darkness and the future was blighted by the total absence of patriotism and unbridled corruption – especially in political, elitist and economic circles held sway. The whole moral fabric of society was shattered by a “Biafran Tragedy” The leaders who rejected ‘Jagna Nana and Loko Toun, were replaced by those who sponsor Nollywood. Mere anarchy, moral and social decay ruled the day. Bewildered, although I suppose by his self contradictory attempt at being a 20th Century man who championed Shakespeare Literacy Art and won a Christian Noble Prize and yet insisted on belonging to a religious world view which had become anachronistic. Unable to hold the opposing realities together, he decided that his was a “wasted generation”

b)         It is beyond definition:  Folk religion is easier described than defined.  With the decline in the love for and commitment to a religion of the Book, described earlier as biblical Christianity came a new kind of religiousness.  It can be effervescent at times, but simply mystifying at others.   Folk religion has no rules and regulations.  It is pragmatic and eclectic at once.  It lends itself to the people’s religious whims and caprices and makes no demands on their moral and ethical consciousness.  It simply says: if it feels good do it!  In folk religion, the emphasis is on personal pleasure and fulfilment of felt and immediate needs with no reference to moral scruples or future values. In this religion, in the world of generation X, there are no clear rules. There is only a vague sense of history, but nothing is permanent or binding. This fluidity or even fuzziness pervades every aspect of existence – religious, political and economic. Selfishness and self centred hold sway and everyone is out to achieve their own selfish goals with no regard as to the impact for others.

Folk religion depends more on hear-say than on solid body of time honoured dogma, as in the book religions.  In consequence, folk religionists have no permanent attachment to any religious form or to any ethical or moral values. The adherents and purveyors are the children of the “wasted generation” or generation X.  “They say the Angels live in Nekede – the Headquarters of New Jerusalem.  Everybody flocks there”.  And the more expensive that trip, the more attractive it is for those who are eager for a religion for “solving problems”.  Here lies the root of its utilitarian nature. Socially, there are new scruples. The adherents love music and world, rather sing and dance than think or work. These are the children we warned a year ago, were coming (See Okorocha 2011a). Now they are here. They have brought their own religion: They are our children – what shall we do as men-folk to whom they look up to save them, ourselves and the next generation? Thus the current generation X plus.

c)                  It is Utilitarian and pragmatic: Folk religion which informs the values and behaviour of generation X plus, is more interested in self-aggrandising goals than in questions of honour, integrity and accountability.  If it makes you happy, do it.  In consequence, folk religion is the religion of post-modernism and new tolerance.  It is the religion of ethical relativism and moral latitudarianism, it forms the bedrock of globalisation and secular humanism. It is the religion of generation X plus, our children, the new African!

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