I’ve heard it said that the highest value of a Millennial is authenticity. I think that’s probably a generally true statement. Loathe as I am to say it, I myself fall into the Millennial category, although I always argue for the Xennial micro generation between Gen X and Millennials. Alas, spellcheck doesn’t recognize Xennial as a word, so that’s still an uphill battle I suppose. Regardless, whatever it is that makes Millennials so value authenticity… I’ve definitely got it.
There’s nothing wrong with authenticity of course. Being true to yourself and saying the things that you truly believe or feel can be perfectly admirable. When someone is being obviously inauthentic it can be a painfully cringeworthy experience. But that said, being authentic is not the best thing that a person can be.
In fact, placing authenticity as the highest standard leads to settling for being less than one could be. One might say he is lazy. It’s not that he wants to be, but that’s just who he is. He can’t change it. He’s just being authentic about it. Or perhaps out of shape. Or no good at “x”. Or overly blunt. Or any number of things. Authenticity as the HIGHEST good simply leads to total acceptance of whatever you are and eschews any impulse that one might have to change. Or with a matter of beliefs, a total acceptance of what you see to be true without any impulse to confirm it or examine other opinions.
I have no intention of putting forth an entire hierarchy of values here, but I will posit what the better highest value is: Truth. If you hold a false belief authentically, it does nothing good for you. In fact, it might harm you, or prevent you from realizing your potential at the very least.
When I watch the videos of the sermons at the church I attended prior to becoming Orthodox, it reminds me of who I was then. I was still the person who put authenticity as the highest good. That was what I liked about the church, the authenticity of it. I’d wager that’s what most of the people attending there like about it as well. Before I say anything negative, I do want to say that I think they for sure do a lot of good there. I’m sure they’re meeting a lot of people where they are. I was glad to be there for the time I was. But, when I watch the videos now what I really think is… this isn’t Church. That’ not me challenging their salvation or saying they’re not Christians, it’s just me saying… they’re not having a Church service. Much of the time it doesn’t even really strike me as say, spiritual teaching. The vibe I get is “self help”, with a smattering of Bible verses here and there. I’m not against what they’re doing (though I may disagree with specific things said from time to time), but what I really think is that they’re too concerned with being authentic and not concerned enough with finding Truth (God). Because of the misaligned focus, I think it makes the people there fall short of what they could have. But thank God that they do have some part of the Truth.
I doubt anyone there would both find their way to this and know who I am to know that I’m talking about them, but if you did – know that I love you and pray for you, and I value what I got in my time there. May you grow deeper in the knowledge and love of God!