Millennials are shaping the future.

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about millennials.

“I’m embarrassed to admit I have held an under-examined negative view of millennials.  John has opened my eyes to what is possible, and particularly in the hands, mind and souls of millennials themselves.”

Tom Scott, co-founder and CEO, The Nantucket Project

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Harry Potter Is Not Childish

In a recent blog, "Living with Enchantment," I wrote of New Copernicans, “We are moderns that believe in magic.” I cited Doctor Strange, Elizabeth Gilbert, and yes, Harry Potter. So I was intrigued to read Gracy Olmstead’s article in The Federalist, “Harry Potter Offered Millennials Enchantment in a Disenchanted World.” However, on closer reading my stomach turned sour. Gracy makes the correct observation quoting Lara Prendergast in The Spectator, “Harry Potter may be a literary fantasy but for many it is also a substitute religion in a secular age.” But then she turns snarky suggesting that this “reflects a spiritual vacuum experienced” by millennials. She continues, “Many millennials dwell

Living With Enchantment

Director Scott Derrickson got it right in Doctor Strange. He infused the expected technological naturalism of the Marvel comic universe with Eastern Tibetan mysticism. He morphed Stephen Strange from a self-absorbed disenchanted naturalist to a nascent enchanted naturalist who was learning that there is a reality larger and other than his own ego that provides the scope of meaning to his life. The film has been criticized for not spelling out the character arc of his spiritual transformation. But this kind of change is unique to every person and rarely involves detailed arguments. Most of us would have been equally opened up to the possibilities of other worlds if we had experienced it in qu

Demographics as Destiny?

It is perhaps too strong to say, “Demographics is destiny.” Culture is too complex to make that reductionism stick. But millennials may have the social and economic capital to make the claim stick. New Copernicans are rethinking the core assumptions of human society. If you are not paying attention, then you are an idiot. The Republican National Committee, the evangelical church, and the International Olympic Committee are three institutions at risk in being bypassed by this generation. A paper out this week by Swiss Bank UBS underscores the point. “Millennials are about to benefit from “one of the largest intergenerational wealth transfers in history,” according to Tom Naratil, president of

Fractals, Bibimbap and the Nature of Reality

New Copernicans intuit that reality is spherical. They also sense that life is best lived in harmony with the nature of reality. Exploring the building blocks to reality is an exciting aspect of our ongoing spiritual and life pilgrimages. Fractals are clearly one of these building blocks. In nature, fractals are never ending patterns that repeat at different scales. This property is called “self-similarity.” A fractal provides maximum simplicity with maximum complexity. Fractal patterns are found all through nature from tree branches, lightening strikes, leaves, neurons in the brain, to snowflakes. I first learned about fractals when discussing computer chip design. Complementarity is anothe

Political Implications of New Copernicans

If New Copernicans are the first post-Enlightenment generational cohort, then their attitudes toward Enlightenment-based political institutions will not be based on Enlightenment polarities. Some have found that according to the World Value Survey millennials are the most politically radical generation ever recorded. But it would be a mistake to assume that this means that they are consistently progressive. What this really means is that they are no longer confident in the institutions of politics themselves and how they frame reality. They aim to completely reframe the way we think about politics. They are more radical than most realize. Researchers Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk writi

Elizabeth Gilbert and My Journey to God

It is my contention that we cannot flourish as a human being without being on a spiritual pilgrimage. The question then becomes, how do I enter into that pilgrimage? This beautiful essay from Muslim artist Sophia Khan provides wisdom for the road. It has been said that there are as many paths to God as there are breaths in this world. Living in a world where I am exposed to many different ideas around religion and spirituality has provided a beautiful backdrop for my own explorations into deepening my connection with God, and for my search for meaning. Such inspiration can sometimes come from sources where we do not expect to, or are not necessarily seeking to, find them. As it turned out, o

The Success Sequence: Proven Steps

Brad Wilcox was a graduate student back when I was working at the University of Virginia. He has since become a national authority on the sociology of marriage and family and is a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. So I was struck by a new report that he and his research director Wendy Wang released recently: “The Millennial Success Sequence.” They acknowledge that millennials are taking many divergent paths into adulthood. Some, however, provide better economic outcomes. They are not trying to be morally prescriptive, “This is what you ought to do.” Rather they are simply looking at the data from the Bureau of Labor

A New Copernican Catholicism?

What will it take for evangelical leaders to learn from Pope Francis? He has a deep appeal to millennials. One cannot imagine the likes of Franklin Graham, Russell Moore, or Al Mohler gracing the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Pope Francis is an exemplar of an open transcendent faith. He has not changed Catholic doctrine, but he has single-handedly changed the tone in which the doctrine is heard and encountered. Closed transcendent Catholics rail against him. Meanwhile he appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. This Pope understands the dynamics of the New Copernican frame shift. He states, “The Christian who ‘wants everything clear and safe... will find nothing.’ Tradition and mem

The Adventure of Eating Out

Eating out can be a culinary adventure. I have an app on my phone that makes it so. Guy Fieri has a popular TV show on the Food Network, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” My humble background makes me especially appreciative of the kind of food he celebrates. It’s local food prepared with special love. It gets its "gourmet" not from price or context, but by culinary care. I have the Triple D app on my phone. On driving trips my wife and I look for those hidden spots that have been showcased by Guy. They are not always in the best neighborhoods, they are often off the beaten path, one often has to wait in long lines, its often farm to table, and the experience with the food is always amazing. On

Politics Is Not The Main Thing

The vote in the United Kingdom this week, which greatly weakened Theresa May’s Conservative Party has been blamed on the voting patterns of millennials. They rallied behind Labor by a 34-point margin. One cannot automatically assume that this means that they hold to the Labor party lines. In general, millennials are simply frustrated by politics, its antics, and it’s over weaning self-importance. It’s not as important as the cable news programs would have one believe. New Copernicans are not political in the same manner in which people think they are political. Shared experiences and relationships among friends mean a lot more to them than ideological purity. This means that one cannot take

Where Should Millennials Live?

A lot of people are interested in where millennials are choosing to live. The answer has significant economic implications for businesses and cities across America. There are twenty-thousand incorporated cities in America. Many are vying for millennials. For a large percentage of millennials mobility is not really an option. Over a third still live with their parents (36%) and most live within twenty miles of their parents. The idea of picking up and moving from New York to Portland is more of a myth than a reality. The cost of living in many urban centers is skyrocketing and the pattern of gentrification only tends to make the cost of living more prohibitive for young millennials. Many are

Life Is Probably Round

The Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh observed, “life is probably round.” His most famous painting, Starry Night (1889), is thought to have expressed his fading religious feelings. Life is spherical. There is wisdom in his observation that is radically counter-cultural. Western culture tends to think in straight lines, not in curves or circles. This is just another way in which we are alienated from reality. Neuroscientist Iain McGilchrist reminds us “No straight lines are to be found in the natural world. Everything that really exists follows a series of curved shapes to which the logical products of the human mind can only ever approach tangentially—flow, once again reduced to a series of poin

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