Kirsten's Fan Club
A decade ago, I never thought I would be
On the verge of spontaneous combustion
Woe is me
But I guess that it comes with the territory
An ominous landscape of never-ending calamity.
I need you to hear, I need you to see
That I have had all I can take
And exploding seems like a definite possibility to me
So pardon me while I burst into flames.
I've had enough of the world, and its people's mindless games
So pardon me while I burn, and rise above the flame
Pardon me, pardon me. I'll never be the same.
(Incubus, "Pardon Me")
Well, the guys down at the FBI caught the Pipe Bomber, and
wouldn't you know it—he's a 21-year-old rockstar-wannabe.
After authorities trailed him across several states following a
rash of mailbox-bombing incidents, Lucas John Helder surrendered
Tuesday on a desolate stretch of I-80 in rural Nevada.
Lately, I have been pondering just what, exactly, my
generation is so angry about. I am also twenty-one, born within
months of both Lucas Helder (confessed pipe bomber) and John
Walker Lindh (American Taliban). We are among the firstborn of a
generation that counts the school shooters, the murderous 'prom
mom', and Britney Spears (come on, you know she's just as much a
crime against humanity) among our number.
A quick spin of the radio dial reveals angry, bitter lyrics
set to driving beats on the most popular music stations.
Suicide, physical violence and depraved sexuality are common
themes in media aimed at the twelve-to-twenty set. One
chart-topping song by Christian group P.O.D., entitled
"Youth of a Nation," chronicles all of these abjectly
depressing topics in under four minutes.
The surprising thing about all the angry pop culture is what
it's angry about. America's youth seem to be searching for
something; something they're not finding from their parents,
school or society. If you listen closely...it sounds like
they're searching for spirituality.
Sadly, they are missing the mark. Lucas Helder (the pipe
bomber), left a rambling message signed, "Someone Who
Cares." The contrived, vague letter alludes to an afterlife
for those the bomber supposedly "dismissed from this
reality," but mostly just reads like a hodge-podge of
different paranoid and/or anarchist ideologies he compiled by
watching CNN. Helder followed up with a letter sent to the
University of Wisconsin newspaper. Alongside even more
convoluted, pseudo-spiritual babble (the most coherent portion
of the lengthy screed is a section canonizing marijuana), Helder
declares, "I will die/change in the end for this, but
that's ok, hahaha paradise awaits!" Some paradise—a 12x12
cell with an overly friendly roommate and nowhere to hide?
Perhaps Mr. Helder should reevaluate his theology.
Another failed spiritual seeker, John Walker Lindh, left tony
Marin County, Ca. as a teen to travel the middle-east in pursuit
of 'true' Islam. His search eventually led him to a band of
roving terrorist thugs (they call themselves the Taliban), from
whom he learned to use machine guns and other weapons against
his American peers when they arrived to eliminate the
terrorists. Today, he faces life imprisonment for conspiring to
kill his fellow Americans.
How can we expect this generation to find true spirituality
if no one is willing to provide leadership? We are a generation
that grew up in homes where most parents were ambivalent about
religion—or just weren't there at all. They were out
worshipping the gods of money and prestige, and never realized
just how badly they were neglecting their children's fundamental
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he
should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it."
There is an entire nation of young people coming into adulthood
today who have had no spiritual training whatsoever. The only
things many of us have known in our lifetimes are unchecked
consumerism, self-centeredness and instant physical
gratification (if it feels good, do it). As young adults, it
seems we are collectively rejecting this false value system, but
what are we going to replace it with?
Spiritual beliefs and value systems are arguably the biggest
factors in a culture's ultimate success or failure. Even a
cursory glance through a history book will reveal the principal
catalyst for nearly every major cultural development, good and
bad—and it's not the hollow materialism of the late 20th
We face a precarious moment, as these spiritual 'blank
slates' take their first steps into the adult world. What is
written on those slates—and in tomorrow's history books—is
up to all of us.
Kirsten's Fan Club
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