The Search for Authenticity

image from the Resurgence

I have been thinking about this idea of authenticity a lot lately. And simultaneously the notion of identity. It seems to me that as individuals, families, communities as a society we are not happy with who we are, who we have become and indeed who we envisage ourselves becoming. Being authentic in today’s media and technology saturated world is harder than you might imagine. Nick Bogardus writes:

Millennials value authenticity, but we have no idea how to be authentic. Just look at the social media habits. We spend the majority of our days adjusting our image online for our friends rather than being known by them. We text instead of have verbal conversations…. we base our identities on the same things our parents did.

Bogardus points out that we no longer believe in the Western American Dream equivalent and there is a lot of evidence in people for a longing for the past, a simple life, a thoughtful existence and a meaning to just belong.

The search for authenticity takes people to many places.  They quit sugar and carbs, they exercise in intense people groups with high accountability, they meditate and refocus in retreats, they pay homage to and worship the environment by fixing the damage to the local landscape, they raise money for sickness and disease, they write letters and lobby  politicians to defend asylum seekers and advocate for freedom for those caught up in human trafficking, they dig veggie patches, hunt and forage, they knit and sew they thrift and busk, they join community choirs, sports clubs, book clubs. We make. We create. We try to connect. But it would seem we  still fail.

Until Millennials come to trust Jesus, they will live life like Facebook: confusing connection for intimacy, and a self-edited presentation of themselves online for really being known. Until then, they will continue to confuse recycling for justification, simple living for sanctification, and gardening for the in-breaking of God’s kingdom. You can read more of Bogardus  @ the Resurgence.