Original Research - Special Collection: Practical Theology

Generation X, intergenerational justice and the renewal of the traditioning process

Cory L. Seibel, Malan Nel
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 66, No 2 | a876 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v66i2.876 | © 2010 Cory L. Seibel, Malan Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 May 2010 | Published: 04 October 2010

About the author(s)

Cory L. Seibel, 1. Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, CA, United States
Malan Nel, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The church has the task of transmitting its faith tradition from one generation to the next. In the transition to postmodernity, many established congregations have proven to be ineffective at this traditioning process in relation to Generation X (Gen X), the first postmodern generation. The reasons for the ineffectiveness are complex. This article focuses on two key factors that contribute to the problem: the reduction of the church’s tradition to its particular expression within the culture of modernity and the marginalisation experienced by Gen Xers within many established churches. The latter has prevented them from becoming effective bearers of the church’s tradition. If this trend is to be reversed, churches should succeed in renewing their traditions in a way that is meaningful in a postmodern context. The challenge will be to overcome the dynamics of reductionism and marginalisation. In developing the argument, the jubilee themes of ‘return’ and ‘release’ are applied to the intergenerational dynamics of established congregations. The article concludes that local congregations should embrace a renewed commitment to intergenerational justice, which will encourage equity between the generations.


Generations; Gen X; tradition; postmodernism; intergenerational justice; church renewal


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