“The young people defined as “Gen Xers” in the media and popular imagination almost never include poor or working-class young adults. These young people – a huge and important part of our society – are misrepresented and silent in our national conversation. In The Unknown City, Michelle Fine and Lois Weis offer a groundbreaking, theoretically sophisticated ethnography of the lives of young adults (ages 23 to 35), based on hundreds of interviews. We discover their views on everything from the construction of “whiteness” and affirmative action to the economy, education, and new public spaces of community hope. Finally, Fine and Weis point to what is being done and what should be done in terms of national policy to improve the future of these remarkable women and men.”

More often than we realize young professionals with all the right degrees and right internships are turning up in poverty lines. Weighed down with unreal amounts of school loans, offered only the most entry level type of jobs, and given five year plans that include additional schooling with additional loans. The new credit generation isn’t just high school dropouts, but now includes many of our nations best and brightest college and grad school graduates. Many times the only way to get ahead is to take more hours, take more trips, and give up an exterior social life; and we wonder why today’s young professional’s are starving for community, searching for a more gracious social ethos.

But lest you narrow this experience to the cold world of the buisness elite, make no mistake this situation is very similar to the season many aspiring pastors must endeavor through fresh out of seminary. Many of the churches future leaders are finding out that ‘the call’ is no less cruel than the ‘401k dream’ of the young professionals. Churches often times don’t look for the person they can invest in, rather they are looking for the person who has so much on the table that they know there will be a long and prosperious season of withdrawls to come. The consumer culture is an ever present temptation for the church, but not a necessary capitulation. 

Cynicism is the place where many of these young professionals and young seminarians are tempted to turn, BUT GOD has a greater person for them to turn to. For those who would feel disenfranchised by the world out there or the world in here the Father says come to my Son who’s burden is light, and who cares for you so much that he endured the pain of social dislocation, he endured the stigma of contempt and suspicion, he was ‘bought’ and ‘sold’ for the price of a discarded field, and yet he eagerly obeyed his Father even in the knowledge of his impending death.

I encourage anyone ministering to young professionals or teenagers who will enter this season in four to six years to pick up this work and do the labor of cultural exegesis. May it draw you to prayer, to vigilance, and to pursuing the full image of Christ in them and in you. For those who find themselves in the midst of such a time as this, recall the testimony of our Lord brothers and sisters, for we do not walk alone through this valley. And his gentleness alone will be the greatest evidence to your soul that our God reigns over all…