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Culture By Generation
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Gary L McIntosh
One Church Four Generations:  Understanding and Reaching All Ages in Your Church (Grand Rapids:  Baker, 2002.  222p.)

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McIntosh provides an excellent comparative summary of the generations of the 20th century and bridging into the 21st.  In an American social context, he describes the formative events of each generations, the characteristics that developed as a result, the common attitudes and approaches to life this led to.

He then provides a basis for communicating and building intergenerational communication.  McIntosh provides a survey of the religious and church concepts of each generations, including the expectations their formative life experiences created in their generation.  Then he analyzes how church leadership needs to interact with members of each generations, how to understand their needs and how to enhance their spiritual growth.

Handling Conflicts
McIntosh does a good job of lining out the practical implications for each generational and for handling the conflicts or differences in response to various educational, social and worship formats.  He emphasizes the possibilities and need for inter-generational relations in the church community, as well as the society at large.  Readers of this book should gain a positive appreciation for the other generations they relate to in daily life.

I appreciated the time-line analysis of the worldview of each general age group.  This provides a practical perspective on the manner in which the early formative events laid the foundation for a general perception of the world at large.  I have referred to such dynamic events in my writings as Shared Significant Experiences.

Reality as Experienced
These shared experiences that are significant in forming our early shared concepts of reality result in what we call Worldview.  The worldview differences are at the base of what we refer to as Culture, on the cognitive level, beyond the sometimes puzzling outward expressions in lifestyle and decision-making approaches.

McIntosh's analysis clarifies how narrow the walls of a world can be right alongside others who remember earlier experiences that strongly shaped their view of reality quite differently.

See related reviews and articles on this site:
Shared Significant Experiences:  Worldview and Experience
What is Worldview

Also related:
Cognitive and Social Culture (What is Worldview?)
[TXT] Cognitive and Social Culture (What is Culture)
Comfortably Uncomfortable
Cultural Role and Language Proficiency
Gas-Pumping and Finger-Pointing Fiasco – Cross-Cultural Adaptation Needed:  Haitian and African in America
Knowledge and Politics – Blog
Self and the World, Knowing Reality
[blog] Shared Significant Experiences
What Everyone Needs to Know
Your Hand - A Blessing or an Offense

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Initial reading notes written 3 April 2010
Reviewed on Amazon 27 April 2010
Posted on Thoughts and Resources 27 April 2010
Last edited 17 August 2010

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2010 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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