Where to Go From Here

Les Newsom  |  January 15, 2013

I’m going to go out on a prophetic limb here and state that the postmodern zeitgeist is hung over. Gone are the heady, intoxicated days of liberation from transcendent norms and meta-narratives. The all-too-early wake up call of a deep economic troubles has the next generation groggily taking stock of itself, and it’s coming up all zeroes.

Teddy Thompson is the only son of British folk-rock legends Richard and Linda Thompson. A few summers ago, Teddy released A Piece of What You Need for Verve. My favorite track on the album is “Where To Go From Here,” partly for its gentle acoustic rhythm and brush-on-snare sound, partly for its existential angst that demonstrates my aforementioned point.

The safe lie of the in between
I never lose but never win
I wait at the edge of life
I want to miss what might surprise

It’s hard to know where to go from here
Hard to know where to go

Time is a waste of me
I’m up at noon for nothing real, but I know
Oh, that I’m wasting it
It comes on once, there’s no repeat.

It’s hard to know where to go from here
Hard to know where to go 

Stated simply: agreed. It is a hard way to look at life that never loses and never wins, equally hard to be “up at noon for nothing real.” The question facing Christians into the coming decade is how to best speak to a generation that is so “over” us, as my pre-teen daughters say.

My suspicion (and again, I’m venturing into the foolishly prophetic here) is that rather than generating a culture that believes in nothing, instead will unfold a culture that will believe in anything. In other words, the pattern of life set for our children’s world will extend from those for whom substance was essential and conviction was central. How else can we explain the explosive take over of Islam in Western Europe in the last decade?

Apparently, this generation of New Calvinists has been granted a seat at the table of American evangelicalism in the early part of the 21st century. Whether or not they will speak to Teddy Thompson’s difficulty will depend largely upon the strength of our conviction (something which we rarely lack) AND our willingness to listen (something in which we rarely excel).