Yesterday the preacher of my church, Scott, commented on the newest generation of Nebraskans who, because of their youth, do not know who Tom Osborne or Tommie Frazier are. Now, I have learned who Coach Osborne was and is, the legendary skipper of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team some time in the last century, but I’m not quite sure about Frazier myself. Someone said he was a famous quarterback (or, if I misheard, that might be famous cornerback), also for the Cornhuskers. I would have guessed a heavyweight boxer or former New York Knick, but that is getting Fraziers mixed up.
Scott’s point, though, it that the lore and values of one generation are tenuous in their passing to the next. Next year will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, and the vast majority of Americans will not remember that day from personal experience, only the dwindling number of oldsters like me.
This type of observation is made several times in the Old Testament. The most famous of these comes after the death of Joshua, where the author of the book of Judges comments, “… another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). I have seen this verse applied to the up and coming Millennial Generation, a group that spurns denominational affiliation and easily categorized religious identity. To be sure, biblical literacy is declining in America, and many formerly strong churches have either closed or are breathing their last. The conclusion is that this generation must not know the Lord if it avoids the church, and cannot understand what the Lord has done if it neglects the Bible.
However, I remember that similar comments were thrown at my Boom Generation in the 1970s. Biblical illiterates. Church attendance slackers. Didn’t know God or his book. And maybe those accusations were true, but the church survived. The Good News of Jesus Christ still was preached. As in the days of the biblical Judges, there were some rough stretches. But God did not abandon his people. He raised up new leaders, godly men and women who were sold out to his service. There are and will be such leaders in the church-future, some who are in middle school or riding in car seats right now. So let’s not give up on our future nor give in to the despair that comes from seeing our generation’s heroes forgotten. Tom Osborne is now the Athletic Director at the University of Nebraska, one of the most respected men in college athletics. I think Tommie Frazier is still playing cornerback somewhere.
Nebraska Christian College