following threads

This has been an incredibly short/long week. No particular problems. No personal crises. Just many pieces. As a result of the mental fracturedness, this post is disjointed.

Yesterday, while Hope and I were driving home, we were listening to U2, both singing “sometimes you can’t make it on your own.” Window down, minivan, Hope driving, perfect summer evening.

(While writing that paragraph, I decided to check on the song. It turns out that it was written by Bono as a tribute to his dad. A good song, it turns out, for a dad and daughter to be singing.)

The line comes to mind as I am thinking about Sunday morning. this Sunday morning. I am teaching Sunday School for a few weeks for the most senior of our classes.  I will be teaching them about thinking about the culture of people between 18 and 34.

I’m spending a lot of time trying to understand how people interact and build relationships using a variety of communication technologies. Like blogs. Like comments on blogs. Like conversations on the back porch. Like a cup of coffee. Like praying. Rather than deciding that one or the other is better or worse, I like to think about better or worse for what, for whom.

If cultures are systems of beliefs and values and behaviors, then there is a cultural difference between people who are older than 70 and people who are younger than 35. It’s not just about generations, about passing on the values. That would be work for family counsellors. It’s just as much, I think, about cultures, which is work for anthropologists.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week being interrupted. What that means is that I had some things I wanted to do, things more reflective and written, and I was called upon to be more interactive and oral. I spent a lot of time in conversations, clarifying and guiding and helping (I hope) and teaching. Coming off a week of quasi-vacation, I have a sense of disruption.

I know that to talk about cultures rather than generations runs the risk of moving further and further away from thinking about individuals. And that’s precisely what I don’t want to do with this class. In fact, quite the opposite. I want to help them have a way to think about interacting with their grandchildren, their great-nieces.

And so I write to me, I write to you, I write for them. I’m lost in pretty abstract thinking which, by 10:15 am on Sunday, for about 3 weeks, is going to have to be clear.

Thanks for stopping by and listening. I’ll be fine in a couple days. I’ll let you know what I learn. If you have any thoughts, you know where to leave them.


4 responses to “following threads

  1. Jeff Cleveland

    How’d you do the photo?

  2. I love thinking about generations as culture. I was having a conversation yesterday with someone about the choices that we make regarding use of/access to technology. We talked about how careful we have to be in limiting certain areas, because may be limiting their access to the culture of their age.

  3. Umm…yah…I forgot to mention that I was talking about the choices we make regarding our CHILDREN’S access to technology.

  4. Jeff – Thanks for the reminder. is a great free service for some special images like this. They also have some premium effects.

    Rob – thanks. That’s a great insight. There’s this tension between giving them access, and the realization that the access is shaping cognitive process in ways we don’t understand. There is a level of reflection that we often don’t do because we are afraid that we are either encouraging or condemning technologies. What the cultural approach is doing for me right now is that we abandon, for the period of analysis, “should”, and instead try to describe what is.