Tom and Nancy Lin

Leading a Global Missions Movement among University Students and Faculty (@tomlinnow)

From Urbana Associate, Paul Borthwick:

As co-laborers in the work of the Kingdom and fellow partners in the world of fund-raising, I thought you might like to read these words from a 27-year-old Christian responding to questions I was asking about raising funds from the under-30 crowd.  [NOTE: The respondent is from a upper-middle class background and a liberal arts secular college grad, who prefers to remain anonymous.]

“Concerning giving among my generation, my observations are:

1.  Many people in my generation feel entitled.  We ‘deserve’ to drive in luxury, we have ‘earned’ the right to be pampered and take exotic vacations, and we are worth being spoiled with facials, manicures, spas, new clothes, gyms, professional trainers, dinners at fancy restaurants, followed by fancy drinks, fancy coffee, etc. etc. etc.   If this all sounds like the Kardashians, you’re right!!  This type of life-style takes lots of money, often leaving us broke, or worse, in debt.  I think a good bell weather for our cultural narcissism is the American wedding.  It captures much of what is wrong with our culture.   After all this, we don’t have any money left to give to others.

2.  The second largest debt in our country is from student loans.  Financial gurus believe it the next financial crisis, and it could possibly be as large as a melt-down in the financial services industry we just experienced.  After all this, we don’t have any money left to give to others.

3.  Men and women in their 20s and 30s have experienced wealth unlike any other generation, which is due entirely to the wealth of our parents.  We’re given credit cards to ‘have fun’, weekend trips to high end places (paid for with frequent flyer miles coupled free stays in luxury hotels), international travel all over the world, and this is all before college!  After all this, we don’t have any money left to give to others.

4.  My generation has been tutored to get high scores on the SATs, we’ve been trained by professional lacrosse players all summer with the hopes of earning a starting spot on the varsity team, we’ve had movies made of our outrageous successes that can be sent to the colleges of our dreams, we’ve been chauffeured to school every day, and professionally chauffeured in limos to the prom, concerts, and other events.  After all this, we don’t have any money left to give to others.

5.  The level of narcissism is growing exponentially.   Consider TV.  Who do you think is watching all the dating (e.g. The Bachelor and Bachelorette), romance, living together, and navel gazing (Anna Nicole Smith, Gotti Girls, Kardashians, Osbournes, etc. etc. etc.)?  It takes a lot of money to live the way these shows project living. 

6.  In short … my generation has been born into wealth - it’s all we know.  We enjoy the attention, but we’ve been so busy receiving there’s little time left to consider the needs of others.   Some day we’ll make a difference in the world, but today we’re engrossed in Facebook, making it to the next major party and/or wedding.  We’ll give to breast cancer, because someone in our family has been diagnosed with it.  We’re aware of abject poverty, human trafficking, and inhumane living conditions around the world, but like everything else in our lives, someone else will take care of it (i.e. pay the bill).”