This is a post about nothing. And for the record, I stole the title from a song.1 There’s not much to say right now. ‘So why post anything?,’ you might ask. Because my writing skills need sharpening and this is the best way I know how to do it.
I am a product of Generation X. When I was younger, we were considered to be the Lost Generation, the “middle children of history with no purpose or place.”2 Our great-grand-parents fought and won WWI. Our grand-parents were a part of the “Greatest Generation,” those who fought and won WWII. Their children were the “Baby Boomers,” the ones who threw off social & moral norms and went crazy with drugs, sex, & rock-n-roll in the 1960s & 70s. They fought for some noble things (ie: civil rights), but in their overall rebellious behavior, they adversely redefined the mores of modern society. Then came us.
Born in the 1970s and 80s, Gen X was the first generation of modern times that had no sense of purpose. This has become the norm since, with “Generation Y” following and the overlapping rise of “Millennials” in their midst. But we were the first ones who had all of life’s essential needs met as we grew up in the comfort of the suburbs. Eating out was routine and annual vacations were to be expected. The average American family’s income was exceeded only by the desire of their wants.
What happens when a people have all of its needs met, that does not fear war, that has seen other worlds conquered before they were born, that can pay doctors for elective surgeries to reconstruct appearance, who can buy larger houses at age 30 than their parents ever bought in their lifetimes, and where religious teaching was not generalized? (And when it was taught, it was devoid of passion and thought of as a simple cog-in-the-wheel of weekly routine.)
We are seeing the result of such a meandering, lost existence manifest itself in the gender debate of late, in transgender issues, in legal abortion, animal rights, global warming, euthanasia, gay ‘marriage’, and the entire victim mentality that has become prevalent in the past 25 years. Every group is a victim, downtrodden and abused by someone more skilled, more powerful and wealthier than themselves.
This all reminds me of the eager Israelites who were ecstatic to be freed from the cruel hands of the Egyptians. But once they gained freedom, they morphed into grumbling sloths with no memory of their captivity. They were adrift in the deserts of the Middle East for 40 years, forgetting what they were fleeing and where they were going.3
This same exasperated emptiness came out in much of the entertainment of my youth & early adulthood. From the 1980’s rag-and-makeup-wearing ‘big hair’ music bands, that were bloated examples of our excesses, to movies such as “Fight Club,” which earned over $100M and highlighted the story of a fictitious character struggling to deal with the rat-race of modern life, the examples of ‘nothingness’ were everywhere. Perhaps the best illustration of the wandering of the period was the TV show “Seinfeld.” A cultural phenomenon, this sitcom raked in millions of dollars as it laughed at its own absurdity as “a show about nothing.”
As our society struggles with who we are these days — questioning definitions once etched-in-stone — remember that there is a solid, unmovable foundation for our behavior, our laws, and our lifestyles. This liberating path is mapped out by the Creator — He who put the cosmos in motion and who will some day surely intervene to restore all the frayed-ends of our world.
One of my favorite poets (aka: song writer), the late Rich Mullins, brought a bit of meaning to an absurd world when he wrote the words,
“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God”4
This post began with nothing. I guess I had something to say after all.
1. The title “King Nothing” comes from the band Metallica’s 1996 song of the same title. See all of the song’s lyrics here.
2. This quote is from the 1999 movie “Fight Club.” See the full script here.
3. Read the story in the Book of Exodus. Click here to read it online.
4. This comes from the 1989 song by Rich Mullins entitled “The Love of God.” Click here to listen to it on YouTube.