The Anthem of Generation J

When we are asked, “Why do we do this? Why do we care?” Or, when we hear someone say, “There are too many problems. I don’t know where to start? Besides, I am busy and need to get my life going first.” This is what we say…

We choose justice because we believe it is the normal posture of a life well lived.

We are a generation that dwells in possibilities. On the positive side of this equation opportunity abounds through education, travel, and technology. On the negative side we run the risk of never committing to anything, and always preparing to be happy but never arriving. In the marketplace of life’s many choices, we have surveyed the options, and believe that the best life is one lived in service to others. It is not something we approach as extraordinary, or for only a select few who have a particular bent towards altruistic behavior. Rather we whole-heartily sense that a life, which seeks after correcting injustices by pursuing justice, is normal. It is our way of being. It is a spectacular ordinary life! Like a particular operating system that most effectively and efficiently runs the hard-drives on our computers, we believe justice-seeking as the best operating system for our human experience.

We choose justice because we aren’t satisfied only with making our own lives better.

The culture of radical consumption and unfettered indulgence doesn’t appeal to our way of being in the world. We believe that the pursuit of fulfilling only our own agenda for happiness will makes us less whole and human. In order to live well we look beyond the natural tendencies to focus only on self-interest and instead to pursue justice-seeking that enlarges life beyond mere narcissism. The accepted norms and attitudes of grabbing and getting are counterintuitive to a way of life marked by gratitude and generous hospitality. In accord with these themes, making only our own station in life better runs counter to improving our relationships, communities, and the needs of others in the wo rld. As we lose ourselves we find ourselves. As we embrace broken people and places with open arms we embrace the best instincts in ourselves.

We choose justice because we are compelled by something greater than ourselves not because it is cool, trendy, or popular.

It is easy to go with flow and follow the trends of popularity, posturing, and positions in life that mark off what is thought of as cool. In contrast, we have concluded that coolness, trendy-ness, and popularity are short lived and overrated. Instead we aim to live solid and authentic lives that are real. We want to set the pace and define the trends through lives marked by substance.

In our pursuit of justice we believe that we are both setting the agenda and getting ahead of the curve concerning what is considered cool. We realize that standing up and speaking out about injustice often is a party killer. Nevertheless, our hope is that others will get onboard and redefine with us what living well actually looks, sounds and feels like. Compelled by big ideas and worthy dreams, we aim to leave a legacy that is timeless versus what appears momentarily in vogue but often fades away. If we must be labeled, we wear the style, smell of the fragrance, market the products, and trade in the commodity of justice-seeking.

We choose justice because we hope to be part of great change.

We have heard about the bravery of our grandparent’s Greatest Generation and our parent’s Baby-Boomer concerns for their retirement security. Through globalization we know about emerging markets. We have been educated about the Ozone and our Carbon footprints. We recognize individuals and nations who have accomplished great things and not so great things around the world. We have seen some of the Seven Wonders of the World. In accord with the best instincts of our generation, in our own way, we want to make a difference in lives other than our own. Whether aiming to improve the circumstances of just one, or many, our energy and drive is to do something great for those caught in the grip of injustice. We have been told that we can do anything if we would just put our hearts and minds into it. Therefore, we have picked the hill where we are going to plant our flag: the pursuit of justice. We are certain it is an excellent place to direct our energy and achieve something significant in the world.

We choose justice because we have so much and others have so little.

If we would but share a fraction of what we have in wealth, education, opportunity, medicine, clean water, or consumer goods, we would change the lives of many others in the world. Aware of our great resources and human capital we would like to begin a movement of generous giving. Left over¬stuffed and dissatisfied with all of our consumption, we are recognizing that as we give things away there is a greater wholeness all around us. As stewards of the resources and unmerited justice we have been privileged with, our deepest desire is to extend these treasures to the many others who are without. Ironically we have learne d that as we choose justice for others, our own grip on the many things we have accumulated (and their grip on us) is loosened. No longer in chains to things, we find ourselves free to help others who have been enslaved. Rejecting entitlement we realize that to whom much is given much is required.

We choose justice because we don’t ever want to be judged complicit with the world’s problems.

In order to be a generation of moral substance and credibility our convictions, character, and choices must be coherent. Therefore, as we learn about where the things we buy come from; or how others lack the basic freedoms we value; or ways we can actually makes difference. We’ve realized that we cannot sit back and be idle spectators. We don’t want to sit in the grand stands of life, merely watching the life and death struggle of others, as we munch on concessions. In order to actually move from a posture of spectator to participation, we have concluded that the best strategy for victory is justice-seeking. In small and large ways we want to contribute, and by doing so see our convictions, character, and choices become a calling. We believe that looking the other away or turning a deaf ear is no excuse. Understanding that there are things we can do. We must do them through a life of justice-seeking. Merely being fans of others who choose justice isn’t an option. We want in the game.

We choose justice because we like to gather with others who have grand ideas about a better way of being in the world.

Seeking justice can be lonely. However, as we gather with the other ambitious justice seeking entrepreneurs, creative catalysts, and change makers, a tipping point occurs. As we band together, we find that we are not alone. We also discover that there are more things shared in common, in the pursuit of justice, than things that divide us. Together we create a new community formed with the high and holy concerns we share regarding justice-seeking. We’ve seen how power often affords an easier substitute than the hard task of loving people. Seeking justice rids the playing field of posturing for position, privilege, or pedigree. Together we discover a better way of being marked by joy and jubilee as we stand with the many in our world who are left alone or left out of such a communion.

We choose justice because we are here to help wherever, whenever, and however we can.

With our hands, feet, hearts, minds, and souls we are here to help others in whatever way will make their lives better. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to love someone, however rocket scientists are welcomed to join our ranks! We need the best and the brightest to bring whatever they have in their hands and hearts to the cause of justice -seeking. It is said that we are the most well-educated and able generation that has ever lived. We need to prove it. In simple terms we want to be good neighbors addressing local, national, and international issues. On a larger scale we must prove our high ranking and academic accomplishments by taking on the hard issues like global epidemics, poverty, climate change, racial and religious relations, and peacemaking. It is no good to merely line our own pockets and provide a cushion life for ourselves. This is ordinary. Everyone is doing that brilliantly. By choosing justice through helping others wherever, whenever, and however we can, we are translating that brilliance into tangible ways that really make a lasting difference for others.

We choose justice because at the core of our being we understand that with knowledge comes responsibility.

Ignorance serves up its own kind of domesticated bliss. If we are uniformed we can simply go about our own business in the pursuit of whatever pleases us. On the other hand, real knowledge naturally leads to a certain level of unsettled discontent concerning the way things really are regarding injustice. In the happy state of being uniformed there is no accountability, no call to action. In the state of awareness there is a sobering call to do something about it. There really isn’t a happy medium or an in between state of being. Either we know about what is happening, and, therefore, do something about it or we are liable in the acts of injustice by our inaction. Blindness to the injustices of others at times may seem like the better option because seeing it can be blinding. However, at our core we understand that courageous sight actually leads to a vision for a better way in the world. The two parts of this knowing responsibility are: response and ability. The more that we know about something we must bring these two things to task. It is not for the faint of heart.

We choose justice because we know our Creator cares about justice.

There are two fundamental ways of seeing the world, either as a cosmic fluke or as a divine conspiracy. There are two fundamental ways of seeing God, either as a mad scientist or a loving creator. There are two fundamental ways of seeing how God acts in the world, either as blameworthy for injustice or as one fiercely pursuing justice. There are two fundamental ways we can respond, either by participating in the pursuit of His Kingdom or by shaking our fists towards heaven. We have chosen to pursue the former by aligning ourselves with the creator God in the ambitious task of creating a more just world. As the King who is the keeper of tears, the servant of the sorrowful, and the caretaker of all who cry for compassion, our allegiances are to his kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven.
Speaking the language of laughter and love, we trust he calls from amongst the sons and daughters of man, children from every tribe, tongue, and nation. We believe that with gentleness and joy the King himself bows down and cradles the hearts of those orphaned; God desires to cover each person in royal robes, and give each person a new name. Our confidence is in his heart to protect his sons and daughters, providing for them in every area of need. Instead of distancing ourselves with debates and questions of why he sometimes seems to wait while the world heaves under the heavy weights of injustice, we gladly participate by standing and overcoming. With God’s heart for justice, our own hearts are formed, and through it we sense his pleasing smile.

We choose justice because whether anyone asks us or gives us credit, we are a generation who seeks justice.

With one go around at this precious gift of life, we want our lives to have mattered for something. We don’t wake up in the morning and think about how great we are or how great we want to be. We don’t even set out to be like the great people we admire. We seek after the things they sought. We have a healthy and holy sublime indifference towards evil in our world, because we have found a stronger way in our quest for justice. Against the wind we set our sails in the hunt for justice because that is who we are and that is what we do. Anyone is welcome to join our merry band of freedom seekers, our fellowship amongst the suffering, our party amongst the poor. We can be recognized by the misunderstood indifference we seem to have towards all the things everyone else anxiously grabs for in this life. Others can look for us where no one else seems to want to go. If others take offense to our best instincts, our way of being in the world, or our normal posture of a life well lived choosing justice; graciously, we ask them to simply get out of our way. There is too much to be done. There are too many people waiting in the world for someone to speak, act, and do something on their behalf, through acts of love, expressed in acts of seeking justice on their behalf.