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The Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire -  October, 2011


New Hope for the Future

Posted by+Ed

As our Diocese begins to live into a new and hopeful future after our "win/win" vote at our Special Convention on October 22, there is now even more hopeful evidence that the next generation of American history is going to bring creative change and imaginative innovation to the divisive weariness that we are now experiencing in American politics.
Morley Winograd and Michael Hais have written a new book (Millennial Momentum) which forecasts a better future based on the past four, 80 year cycles of American History. Utilizing the popular and widely accepted generational typing of Strauss and Howe's Generations: The History of America's Future (Generation X, Baby Boomers, Millennials, etc.), Millennial Momentum breaths welcome fresh air into predictions about the next thirty years of American life.
Historically, every 80 years, American has gone through four different 20 year generational cycles that move our country from times of doom and gloom to new and creative prosperity. It has always been the third of the four generation groupings that move our country from despair to hope and new life. The last three turning points in American history were:

—the American Revolution turning point (1773 - 1789)
the Civil War turning point (1860 - 1877)
the New Deal turning point (1929 - 1941)
the NEXT turning point - yet to be named (2008 - 2030?): the era when the Millennials become our nation's leaders

Each turning point has been preceded by a time of "FUD" (fear, uncertainty and doubt). The last turning point was during the era of FDR's New Deal (after WW II) and featured as its leaders, the GI Generation which is described most aptly in broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw's 1998 book The Greatest Generation.
Our next "greatest generation" are our grandchildren, born between 1982 and 2003. They will be the largest 20 year generation in American history, making up one-third of the voting population. They will also be the most diverse generation with 40% of the Millennials being non-Anglo. What especially sets this generation off as new and unique is its valuing of community, unity and tolerance. This is the generation of social networking - the same group that is spearheading the "Arab Spring" overseas. America's past, fierce valuing of a polarizing "cowboy" independence is shifting to a kinder and gentler valuing of inter-dependence.
Millennial Momentum describes this generation as one that will produce:
"... a more tolerant, inclusive society, that sees government as a force for good and economic inequality as a problem to be solved. With their unique combination of pragmatism and idealism, Millennials will force the country to address the long simmering challenges it has steadfastly avoided dealing with the last several decades."
To add another ingredient of hopefulness to this scenario, our House of Bishops (getting younger and more "millennial") is proposing a resolution at our July 2012 General Convention to streamline and make our Episcopal governing process more simple, functional, fruit-bearing and missional. Those are the same goals that have driven the continuing renewal and new life in our own Diocese.
My friends we have much to look forward to in the exciting years ahead. It is a joy and a delight to be on this ride with you.

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