@JeffersonBethke You are the generation most afraid of real community because it inevitably limits freedom and choice. Get over your fear.
— Timothy Keller (@timkellernyc) July 29, 2013
I hate going to restaurants with large menus. As dish after dish stares up at me, with tempting descriptions following one upon the other, the thought of choosing only one paralyzes me. I usually narrow it down to one of two options, and then, when the server finally arrives, I glance down and impulsively order something entirely different that just caught my eye. Or, if it’s a restaurant I’m familiar with, I just end up playing it safe with my regular meal. I dread committing myself to a food choice, making the wrong one, and losing out on all the other good meals that I might have had that night.
My restaurant anxieties are, I think, a small, admittedly ridiculous, microcosm of the problem with choice-making in our generation (millennials) in general. It’s not that we make bad choices (although, we do), it’s that we are bad at choosing. Period. Why? We have a screwy view of the relationship between freedom of choice and happiness. Americans value freedom and choice in general, but being the iPod generation who grew up with thousands of choices at our fingertips the problem’s metastasized a bit (which, incidentally, is why it takes me 4 minutes to choose an album to listen to on a 5 minute drive).
Now, taking too long to choose a song is annoying, but not really that big a deal. The problem comes with the larger issues in life, especially relationships. Being a millennial myself and working with them every week, I see this all the time. An inability to choose inevitably leads to an inability to have the real community we were created for.
You can read the of my analysis of our cultural fear of community and what true freedom looks like over at The Gospel Coalition.