Hi, I’m Rob, and I’m a Boomer. At least that’s the camp my birth certificate squarely puts me in. I don’t actually think or live a whole lot like most boomers, but I certainly “get” them. We’re performance-oriented. Often pretentious. Even narcissistic. Of course, we’d prefer to think that we’re just hard working and committed to doing whatever we can to make this world a better place to live.
We’ve been labeled the “me” generation because we’ve pillaged the world to indulge ourselves with material pleasures. O.K., guilty as charged.
But there seems to be a new indulgence in our emerging culture that may be just as destructive as any material indulgence of my generation. It’s a verbal indulgence that seems to spring out of our new blue chip value - authenticity.
Now, I’m a huge fan of authenticity, especially given the alternative—pretentiousness. We encourage those we are leading to live out a raw spirituality. By that we mean a humble, Spirit-yielded, unrehearsed life. Unfortunately, “unrehearsed” all too often gets interpreted as “unbridled,” and life suddenly gets real painful for everybody else!
If authenticity becomes a license to verbalize whatever is in our hearts, then we may be perilously close to using authenticity as a facade for a new kind of self-indulgence. A verbal indulgence. In real life, it’s not always O.K. to say something just because I feel like it. It’s not all about me. In fact, it’s about others.
Being authentically honest means I’m honest with my brokenness. Authenticity is almost always confessional, not accusatory. It means I confess that at times I’m a loaded weapon…I’m wounded and I can be dangerous. But being authentic doesn’t mean I always have to take the safety off and pull the trigger. And it never means I should shoot with the intent to harm. If authenticity requires us to pull the trigger and discharge whatever is in our hearts, then I’d choose hypocrisy!
I value authenticity. But I value love even more.
(See chapter 4 in McManus’ “Uprising” for more on authenticity and integrity)