Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Purpose and Meta-Purpose

Mark Zuckerberg spoke at a Harvard graduation where one of his points was that finding our purpose in life is not good enough - especially for the so-called Millenials.  (Read here)


Today I want to talk about purpose. But I’m not here to give you the standard commencement about finding your purpose. We’re millennials. We’ll try to do that instinctively. Instead, I’m here to tell you finding your purpose isn’t enough. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

If I look at the places where I work as a church minister, I think that is a pretty good analysis. In a country where unemployment is high, purpose is hard to find for a lot of people. Telling them to 'catch a wake up' and find purpose in their lives is not helpful. They are too disillusioned and often not adequately prepared by their education and upbringing to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, even if opportunities did exist . But asking those who have momentum and are progressing successfully through life to help create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose is meaningful.

It is the old fashioned Christian idea of taking the focus off 'me' and putting it onto 'you' or others. Yes, I want to understand that I have a reason for existing, a benefit to offer - but I also want to insist that you should have a reason for being and if that reason seems to be denied by society, something needs to change.

There is this idea of purpose and meta-purpose which sounds pretty profound - if I could just figure out what it means!

Practically, I want to challenge the young people in the confirmation class to find purpose in looking to the needs of others. To learn to be empathetic. To be active in helping. And possibly they will discover that sometimes the need of others is to find purpose. Then they can invite these others to join them on the journey.

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