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Responding to the Crisis: Boomer Apologies

This crisis didn’t just happen. We Boomers built a fragile world that was ripe for a catastrophe like this and we need to take responsibility. Five years ago, Bill Gates warned us it would happen in a Ted talk, The Next Outbreak? We’re Not Ready. The writing was on the wall. Instead, we focused o…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

This crisis didn’t just happen. We Boomers built a fragile world that was ripe for a catastrophe like this and we need to take responsibility. Five years ago, Bill Gates warned us it would happen in a Ted talk, The Next Outbreak? We’re Not Ready. The writing was on the wall. Instead, we focused on lining our pockets and spent our resources.

Specifically, how did we mess up? Here are a few thoughts:

We didn’t invest in the systems to build the virus tests we needed.

We spent the resources we now need. Our nation has been running trillion dollar deficits for more than a decade. We are drowning in debt when we need savings.

We’ve built a society focused on individuals, not families at a time when we need families.

We’ve built a church whose main offering is often sermons, not love at a time when we need love.

So, I want to propose that a good place to start is for those of us who had the stewardship responsibility to repent or apologize to those who will inherit the mess. Unemployment is high and people are anxious. They are lonely and afraid and their savings are spent. We need to own our part in that.

We need a generational conversation about how we move from hiding to a better place. I know I have to constantly fight the temptation to retreat into self-protection instead of pressing into this conversation. I have felt hurt and am sometimes cynical. I don’t want that. And it bothers me that I have to admit it. I repent of that.

This is just a little blog, but I want to create the space in the comment section for any Boomers reading this who feel a little brave to repent or apologize for their part. 11 years ago, I did that with a blog post giving people the opportunity to apologize to God. Over the years, 580 people have written out their apologies to God.

Taking ownership where we’ve been responsible is how we start building a world we wish was better.

Comments (13)

  • Thanks for sharing this. I need to pray and think about this. Not sure what the Lord wants me to say at this time. Thanks. I will be back.

  • I am still working on this. I read some of the comments. Not sure what it is that I need to apologies for. I know that there are a lot of regrets in my life. I know I lost time with my two girls. I have let people down. There are many things that I could have done better, but during this time of “lock down at home”, I am resting, reflecting on life and looking forward to what the Lord has for us. I am in a good place. I need to keep praying.

  • Seth I think this is a great place to start. Repentance is the foundation of Kingdom. Repenting and apologizing to the next generation? I have found that they are more than willing to forgive us. The question still remains: Like you are challenging us, are the boomers ready to change and fix what is wrong? Now is a time for us to step up and show that this is more than an apology. Will this situation make us change, change attitude, change selfishness, change the way we do church and change the way we do discipleship. Most of the Boomers have about 20-30 years left. What will we do that will impact the next generation and establish Kingdom. The call to all of us is: Take up your cross and follow Me.

  • Thank you Seth. I will post something. Don’t want it casual, superficial or flippant so will pray then craft something. Repentance more than apologies are needed.

  • Seth

    This is another spot on blog. I’m without many words. Being closed in (was where I was pre-Covid) and up like this has caused me to do face plants. I’m so far from where I want to be. I’ve missed a lot of opportunities that I could have been a better leader. Or how about stepping out instead of being afraid? God is definitely working on my heart in the area of hiding away. We need to hide in him but not hide the talent that he’s giving us in the dirt. I only hope that God will give another opportunity to make things right. Not only have I felt offended or rejected or ignored but I’ve done that to other people.

    I only pray God’s people (finger pointing at me) will respond to what he’s trying to teach us during this time. More lessons are coming and they are going to be even harder.

  • Thank you Deon and Seth for being an example of those who have taken up your cross and followed hard after Him.

    I agree that our very lives need to be the example of the Father’s Kingdom. My desire is to impact the next generation. I repent of “going to church” at times and checking it off of the list rather than “being the church”…a city set on a hill. I repent of many times complaining about the problems instead of being the solution to the problem. I repent of looking at the outward appearance of many younger people and not looking into their eyes and truly see into their soul. I repent of many times living under the fear of what others would think.

    Lord, show me what needs changing (attitude, focus, etc) and help me to not just be willing to change but to actually put it into action.

    Oh God, that the world would know YOU by my love for others and at the end of my life here on earth I could hear you say…”Well done thou good and faithful servant”.


  • Hey Seth I could be wrong but think I hear your heart. We’ve been doing a lot of reflecting too. Cathy and I are in place where all engines have stopped. You know the back story. Sometimes I struggle with the loss (or is it change?) of purpose. I feel like I should be doing, could be doing. But I’m not even allowed to leave my house. I feel like God has spanked me and sent me to my room. But that is just the echo of my own soulishness that still needs to die. He told me to be still and blessed me with the opportunity. I heard Him clearly. I may suck at it but I know I am exactly where He wants me.

    Ironically boomers are entering into the winter of life amidst a Fourth Turn. It’s a two for one sale in that there is a new dying to self in terms of the stage of life as well as the death of old paradigms within society at large and especially the Church. The Ecc 1:8-9 enantiodromic swing has commenced another return.

    The more I see and read the more I am convinced that we have entered into the season of Mat 24 birth pains or at the very least a Heb 12:25-29 shaking and a 1Cor 3:12-15 fire. Birth pains begin slowly and gradually increase in frequency and intensity. It’s probably no coincidence that Cathy just read to me that the seed pods of California Redwood, Lodgepole Pine, and Eucalyptus trees only open in the heat of a fire.

    Right now the entire world has been called into a Psalm 91 secret place and maybe Isaiah 26:20-21 for the purpose of 2 Cron 7:14 repentance. I’m not sure how much of that includes repentance on the part of one generation to another unless we repent for striving so hard to shield them from pain that might have resulted in resilience instead of entitlement and the ability to deny self and endure what is coming. I probably need to repent for my selfish unwillingness to endure the anguish of allowing them to be bored and suffer the natural consequences of their actions.
    That said, what I see is that most are seeking their own significance and want to leave their own mark on the world. A mark that is made independent of us. I think this is a necessary stage without which there is no self to deny. Based on my experience over the last two years they are no where near as concerned with me and what I think as I’d sometimes like to believe. In a way I think that is probably healthier than the dependence and need for direction that perhaps I need to see for the sake of my own sense of purpose.

    In this season I believe we are all called to repent to God individually at first and eventually collectively. That is the death that leads to new life. That is the fire that opens the seed pods of revival. If anything I think we need to stoke the fire and allow others to step or maybe fall into it.

    That said even positive change carries an element of grief. You have poured out your heart and life and it would be pointless for anyone to even try to tell you to stop now. I wouldn’t. Even so, like Schindler in the movie Schindler’s List who realized he still had his wedding ring at the end of the war, there will always be more that could have, maybe should have been done and wasn’t. The good news is that our tears and intentions on earth matter in eternity. Our fallibility allows us to recognize the Sovereignty and Holiness of God. The more I behold Him the less I become. I am feeling pretty darn minuscule now. I am holding on to the truth that the blessing is in the brokenness and resulting diminishment of myself in light of Him. That is the strategy of heaven. That is the message of the cross. The only thing I have left that needs to be done is to let go of and die to everything but the desire to know Christ and Him crucified. Everything else will flow from there. I’ve definitely got some repenting to do.

  • What are just a few of the matters that I as a boomer must admit culpability to whether directly or indirectly?
    Literally in 20 years our Presidential debates have changed from our 2000 question whether we (a) pay off our national debt or (b) pre-fund Social Security in light of the coming boomers’ retirements to our 2020 reality “How much further can we put our grandchildren in debt?”
    We have shifted the discourse from our families teaching right from wrong to families questioning what is right.
    Our priority has often been on our retirement accounts more than the needs of others, and Job 12:5 captures a reality that is close at hand:
    “In the thought of one who is at ease, there is contempt for misfortune; it is ready for those whose feet slip.”

    Only too true.

  • Thanks for this blog. It has caused me to reflect a lot. What do I regret in raising my children of the next generation?

    After reflection, I think I can sum it up: I regret denying you the lessons that pain teaches us, by over sheltering you with comforts. I’ve been late in learning this life lesson about pain. It’s better to walk beside some one in pain, than it is to do everything you can to make life comfortable and without pain. Pain comes, now or later. It is our choice whether to treat it as a teacher or a demon to be destroyed and avoided at all cost.

    It’s not too late. Those in their 20s and 30s are seeing and experiencing a lot of pain. We can still walk beside, and encourage them to “press in” for lessons that come through pain. Bring on the “Hero Generation”. They will change the world….to what? I pray the better place that God desires.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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