What do Meghan Markle, Millie Bobby Brown, Britney Spears, Greta Thunberg, and Enola Holmes have in common? Or name four real persons and one fictional person who just might change the world.
It is not easy being the Queen of the United Kingdom right now. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will change the monarchy in Britain, as sure as the Millennial generation will change the world. They have detected the rotting floor boards beneath the carpets of Windsor Castle and will correct the decay.
You may be unfamiliar with Millie Bobby Brown, but she represents a crop of young artists and actors who are proclaiming an important message about the need to recognise the rights of women, blacks, and other oppressed people. She stars in and helped produce the movie Enola Holmes which conveys a message that, “the future is up to us” (spoken by 16-year-old Enola Holmes, in the voice of 17-year-old Brown who plays Enola); and the movie even goes so far as to say “your time is over” to a woman whose generation appears to be the same as that of the British monarch while the line is delivered by a young man of about Enola’s age (Viscount Tewkesbury). The Millennials (and younger generations) have a point, the future is at least partly up to them and they will make a difference.
Britney Spears is finally on her way to being emancipated from strict financial guardianship, thanks to the voices of many who said, “this is not fair,” and “no one would put up with a man being treated this way.” Good for them; Britney Spears certainly contributed to the circumstances that got her there, but surely the guardianship has been in place for too long.
Greta Thunberg is out to change the minds of any that stand in the way of caring for our planet. If she can’t change their minds, she will change the world anyway. I will pray for her because it is a tough climb when we still have people within the Conservative Party of Canada who recently blocked the passage of a statement that quite simply said, “climate change is real” and “we are willing to act.” Apparently, there are still some who think it is not real and therefore are not willing to act.
That change is about to take place is as it should be. The Baby-Boomers in their time changed the world, even as they surpassed and rebelled against their parents. Just a few historical references to the changes that occurred will be sufficient to show this to be true: Woodstock, Viagra, Apple computers, artificial hearts, the World Wide Web, synthesized music, and the eradication of polio, whooping cough, smallpox, and mumps. Think also of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, and beat poets. And think further of these developments during the Boomer era: cell phones, automated bank machines, working past the age of 65, women in the work force, Contemporary Christian Music, and guitars and drums leading worship. All of these were driven by or took place during the Boomer generation’s watch. Of course, the Baby Boomers also made many mistakes as they changed the world.
Each generation makes its own contributions and mistakes on the way to becoming old and irrelevant. Shh, please don’t tell the Millennials that they too will one day be old. We wish them well and encourage them to change this world that we all know needs changing. Well, one more quote from the Enola Holmes movie might show how not everyone is interested in changing the world. Tearoom proprietor, Edith, puts Sherlock Holmes in his place with a political truth. She tells him, “You don’t know what it is to be without power,” and, “politics doesn’t interest you because you have no interest in changing a world that suits you so well.” Hmm, another mic-drop moment that may be obvious, but no less true. There is hope in young lives impassioned by a vision of the future that is different from the world in which they live. Millie Bobby Brown suggests that this is the theme of the movie and that it is an important message for her entire generation. I would agree and suggest that it is time for the Baby-Boomers to get out of the way. Unless, of course, the younger generations ask us for some wisdom along the way. All generations will undoubtedly benefit from listening to one another.
In fact, I do hope that all of us can learn to change the world while showing a great deal of care for one another; dialoguing passionately, and patiently with ones with whom we disagree. I may disagree with those who want the world to get back to their form of normal and I need to listen patiently, converse zealously, and love generously even as I disagree with others. In fact, in my Christian worldview guided by the words of Jesus, it is sin to disregard the oppressed, the minority (whatever minority), or the zealot in another camp.
As even the Jesus’ Hippies of the 70s knew, the message of Jesus is very much about rights. It is about the rights of the minorities, the oppressed, the sick, the mentally ill, the poor, the rich, the political, and the apolitical. It is about laying down one’s own rights for the sake of the rights of others: as Jesus ultimately did on a Roman cross, surrounded by his own Jewish people howling “crucify him.” As Curtis Chang says about the rights of Christians within the context of public health and the COVID-19 vaccine,
… you can start by affirming the fact that yes, it’s a legitimate concern about [a] form of government control, that in the pandemic, we can point to specific examples and validate that fear of government overreach at churches and Christian gatherings…. However, here’s the biblical way of how Christians … are meant to respond to that fear. It’s through prayer, persuasion, [and] legal action only as necessary. But it’s not through outright disobedience. You know, Romans 13:1 is clear on that. And then we try to pivot to actually—really do persuade to say, look, there is this other value that actually is even more important. And that’s where to be a Christian, is to say, what is necessary is not just what is necessary for me. That my view on rights is not just my own personal rights, but that in the whole biblical model of Jesus is laying down one’s rights on behalf of the others. It is to say that what is necessary is to adopt the posture of a servant. This is fundamental to the gospel. And that is a conversion. There’s no getting around that, that that’s a conversion of a deep value that is centered not on yourself and your rights and what’s best for you, but really what’s best for others, laying down our rights for the sake of the greater good in the model of Jesus…. That’s a public expression of the gospel that we all must be converted to. We must all repent and actually follow that way. And I don’t think there’s any way around that conversion necessity.
So, getting back to the main point, yes, let us change the world. It needs changing. Let us do so within gracious community and with true and courteous love for even the most unlovable. The director of Enola Holmes, Harry Bradbeer says,
“… when I wrote, ‘the future is up to us’, I wanted to leave it open-ended. We’re not saying everything’s going to be fine. We’re not saying Enola’s going to be fine. In fact, she bicycles into a London that’s going to damage her, and beat her up, and things are still going to be difficult for her. But what we’re saying is, it’s your responsibility. Don’t rely on others. Think for yourself and do the right thing.”
But does Enola have to be damaged and beaten up? I pray that we might indeed change the world and make it a place of grace for change activists like Enola Holmes and many others. I pray that our world does not damage the Enolas of the community. I pray that each and every one of us, Baby-Boomers, Millennials, and other generations might graciously help one another to make this world a better place (even as we will likely make more mistakes along the way), “’cause these are the hands we’re given; and this is the world we live in; use them and let’s start trying; to make it a place worth living in.”
 “Christians and the Vaccine,” Biologos, 2021, https://biologos.org/podcast-episodes/curtis-chang-and-david-french-christians-and-the-vaccine.
 “Enola Holmes ending explained: What did that final line actually mean?Millie Bobby Brown has explained what Enola meant by ‘the future is up to us’”; The Tab; https://thetab.com/uk/2020/09/28/enola-homes-ending-explained-final-line-netflix-176637
 “Land of Confusion,” Songwriters: Anthony George Banks / Phillip David Charles Collins / Michael Rutherford, Land of Confusion lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC