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Strauss-Howe Generational Theory

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2023 9:00 am

Strauss-Howe Generational Theory

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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March 2, 2023 9:00 am

In this show, Dr. Shah talks about a theory explaining the ups and downs of different generations and how we as Christians can use this to help us spread the gospel.

If you like this content and want to support the show you can visit us at Don't forget to rate and review our show! To learn more about us, visit us at If you have any questions or would like to contact us, email us at or text us at 252-582-5028. See you tomorrow on Clearview Today!

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30 Days to a New Beginning:


Hello, everyone. Today is Thursday, March the 2nd. I'm Ryan Hill.

I'm John Galantis. You're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at, or if you have a question for Dr. Shah or a suggestion for a future episode, send us a text, 252-582-5028. You can also email us at contact at

That's right. You guys can help us keep the conversation going by supporting this podcast, sharing it online, leaving us a good review on iTunes, Spotify, anywhere that you get your podcasting content from. We're going to leave a link in the description of this podcast so you can do just that. You can also watch us on YouTube. We've got a YouTube channel now. Very excited about that. We've been uploading all of our backlogged episodes.

Going to be uploading all those episodes. You can also watch us on Facebook, The video cast. Yeah, the video cast. We've got lots of good video content. Like, subscribe, and share. That's right. That's right. You want to hit them with the verse of the day?

I would love to do that. The verse of the day today comes from Galatians chapter six verse six. Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Good support for our pastors, all the pastors out there. A lot of God's servants minister without economic resource or support. I mean, yeah, God never promised us, his under shepherds or the pastors of his ministry, that they would be economically wealthy.

That was never a guarantee that he gave us. But he does remind the sheep that their care for us and subsequently our care for them is very important. And so he's saying, look, do what you can to support your pastors. Do what you can to support those who share God's word with us because sharing all good things, it's more than just money. Give them a word of encouragement. Text them. Let them know, hey, you're impacting my life. And it means a lot to me.

Yeah. If you, if you ever are going through your day or going through your week and you have the thought cross your mind, man, I should really, I should text my pastor. I should, I should email him and let him know that I'm thinking about him and praying for him. Please do it. Do it. That don't just, don't let that thought fleet from your mind.

Don't let it fly away from you. Take action on that thought. Because we can, we can tell you firsthand just from knowing Dr. Sean working under him for almost 10 years now, you don't know the burden that they deal with every day. The spiritual burden of all of their flock, especially if they pastor a large church, you don't know what that burden is like.

I don't fully comprehend what that burden is like. So a text, I mean, I text Pastor Sean every day, but you know, every now and then, especially on Saturdays when he's prepping a sermon, that's just one thing that we love to do. Hey, praying for you, you're going to, you're going to do great.

And it makes all the difference because you don't, you'd be surprised how little they hear that. Yeah, absolutely. I've been getting into something and I have found a new passion in life.

And David, if you want to hop on the mic, cause I know you take issue with this. New passion in life. Is this, what is this? Is this a hobby?

Is this, it's good. You go ahead. Walmart thrillers. Okay.

So they could also be target thrillers. So you know, Reese Witherspoon. Well, she has a book. She has a book club. Our good friend Reese.

Reese, if you're watching, send us a text. So there's this thing called Reese's book club. You know, when you are in Walmart or Target and you see like the book section and like, it's not Barnes and Nobles. It's just, I was thinking thriller, like movies.

Like, no, no, no, no, no. Like you go, you go to like Walmart or like Target has a bigger one, but they have like a book section and they've got like the, the top like thrillers recommended. Yeah. They're aimed at women. They're, they're, they're writing like thrillers, like cheap Walmart slash target thriller mysteries.

And they're, they're typically aimed at women because they're in Reese's book club, which is a women's book club. I love them. I love them. Really?

Yes. They're so, when I say they're trashy, I don't mean they're trashy. Like they're, they're inappropriate. I just mean they're so poorly written. They all follow a formula of like a self destructive woman who's so obsessed with her career that she doesn't realize that her literally picture perfect spouse who does everything right is still not enough for her. So she has to dive into her career, ruin the relationships with people around her.

She always has father issues, but she's uncovering some murder that was like hidden years ago. They all follow the same formula and I love them. I love them, Ryan.

I buy them at Target. What are these books do for you? Like what, I don't know. Is it just like safety and knowing the plot?

I don't know what it is. They just are so addictive. They're so addictive. Yeah.

It's just, it's just cheap. That's mystery fiction. David is furious and we've been going to the gym and I've been playing myself. Yeah.

Let me explain myself. I really would expect you to be like, no, I guess I'm fine that you want to read it. It's not, I guess not a huge deal, but I don't like, that's not motivating me when I'm getting ready to go to the gym. When we're listening to it, like on the, in the car, right? We're heading to the gym riding together and all I hear is all this nonsense. It's drama. It's Duke was standing there. Uh, like the, the aroma of pancakes wafting up from the duvet.

I watched him, his jaw clenched as he wondered what I was thinking. Like it's so stupid, but in poorly written, but I love it so much. It's not like trashy because it's women's literature. It's not trashy because it's like aimed towards women. It's trashy because it's so, there's so much drama. There's a lot of drama. Yeah. They always have an issue with their father or their mother.

Their, their mother probably died when they were young or their father died from a sickness and the other parent was either abusive or neglectful or something horrible, poorly written, but so fun. Well, so fun. Okay. Do it guys.

I'm telling y'all. But if you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, make sure you send those into two five two five eight two five zero two eight. Or you can visit us online at clear view today

We'll be back after this. Good morning, afternoon, evening, clear view today listeners. My name is John and I'm David. And we just want to take a quick second and let you know about another way that you can keep in touch with Dr. Shah's work. And that is his weekly podcast series, sermons by Abaddon Shah, PhD.

As a lot of you may know, or maybe some of you don't know, you don't know you do now. And if you don't know, then maybe just hop off the podcast. David, I'm just pop off the podcast play and keep listening. Dr. Shah is actually the lead pastor of Clearview church in North Carolina. Every single weekend, he preaches expository messages that challenge and inspire us to live God honoring one of the four core values of Clearview church is that we're a Bible believing church. So every sermon is coming directly from scripture, which is great because that guarantees that there are timeless truths that are constantly applicable to our lives. This is a great resource because whether you're driving, whether you're cleaning the house, whether you're working out, you can always benefit from hearing the word of God spoken into your life. And God's word is always going to do something new for you every time you hear it.

Sometimes it's conviction, and sometimes it's encouragement. But know that every time you listen to God's word, you're inviting the Holy Spirit to move and work in your life. You guys can check out the sermons by Abaddon Shah PhD podcast. First and foremost, check it out on our church app. That's the Clearview app. You can get that in the Google play store. You can get that on iTunes, but you can also find the podcast on the Apple podcast app or on our website at And listen, if you've got a little extra time on your hands, you just want to do some further reading. You can also read the transcripts of those sermons.

Those are available on Dr. Shah's website And we're going to leave you guys a little link in the description so you can follow it. But for right now, David, let's hop back in. Welcome back to Clear View Today with Dr. Abaddon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at Or if you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, send us a text at 252-582-5028.

You can also email us at contact at Dr. Shah, welcome to the studio today. I'm glad to be here. And just before we begin, I just want to say thank you to you guys and David and Nicholas in the back. I hear so much.

Personally, I hear from people about how good the radio show is doing, how many people are listening to it, how many are recommending the show to somebody else in their family, in their neighborhood, in their workplace, in the church. And so I just want to say thank you. You guys make the show, and I appreciate that. Amen. Thank you. Thank you. Right back to you. I mean, it wouldn't be what it is without the element that you bring and that scholarship that's accessible to everybody.

That's something that is unusual and you don't find many places. So thank you for what you do. Well, it's a team. And I couldn't be doing it without you guys. So it's a team effort.

If God has given me the gift to bring some of that scholarship here, great. And I'm thankful. But it's not just that.

It's so much more that goes on behind the scenes, in front, everywhere that makes each show possible. So thank you. Amen. Thank you as well.

Thank you very much. We're grateful for the opportunity. And we love, like you said, we love the vision that you've brought to it. And we love bringing that vision to life. Speaking of the vision and the content that we're producing for you guys, if this is your first time ever listening, first off, we want to thank you as well for being here. We'll let you know who's talking to you today. Dr. Abbadan Shah is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of today's episode. You can find all his work on his website.

That's That's right. And on today's episode, we began a conversation last week talking about the different generations. And we've already heard from so many people about how helpful this is, how much they've learned as a result of those episodes, and how it's helping them think not just about themselves, but about members of their own family.

Some people it's their kids, some it's their parents or grandparents. They're thinking in terms of what the generations, how they approach things, and how they process the world around them. So we want to continue that conversation today and talk about what these generations mean and how we can understand them better and how it impacts what we do here at church and beyond.

We've spent almost two full episodes, and then this one coming up, and I have a feeling we're going to have another show on this particular topic. We have to begin with that. God is in control. God knows the future, and that's okay. That's good. But then God in His word also gives us the changes in the generations.

Okay. Now, if you read the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, it's known as the Toledoth. Toledoth are the generation. These are the generations of Abraham. These are the generations of Isaac.

These are the generations of Esau. So why did God do that? To help us understand that generations differ with each other.

We try to put everybody in the same box and say, this is how people are. And that's true when it comes to things like sin, when it comes to things like salvation. There's only one salvation for every generation, and that is through Jesus Christ. He is the way, truth, and life.

No one comes to the Father except through Him. So those are things that are set. That's what it is. But then when you study the Bible, you begin to see that each generation is different from the next. Once you understand the wisdom behind it, it helps you, in a sense, navigate and reach that generation more effectively. Well, look at all these generations where everyone's bringing in their own differences.

Their own set of values is changing. We tend to just think of the main characters, and that's the only thing that occupies any amount of time. Our time is short, so what I want to do is, exactly what you said here is, Jon, that I'm going to try to explain generation theory in eight minutes. Let's do it.

That's going to be tough, but we'll try. So a quick history. It sort of goes all the way back to Karl Mannheim back in his 1923 essay titled The Problem of Generations. And in this generation, he explained that a generation is a social location that has the potential to affect an individual's consciousness in much the same way as social class or culture does. Social class culture.

This is how you grew up. This is the kind of music you listen to, and the people around you, your age group, also listen to the same thing. So he made the case that generation is also a social location.

This is your generation, talking about my generation, the song. And his theory kind of gave us the idea that somebody else later on sort of emphasized, which is this. People resemble their times more than their resemble their parents. Wow. That's a powerful statement. It is, isn't it?

I'm trying to wrap my mind around it. People resemble their times more than they resemble their parents. Yeah. Like you look like your parents. Gavin looks like you, right? Or like Ellie, really.

But maybe Holden looks like you. Maybe a little bit. Maybe a little bit. Yeah. But what these people are saying is people resemble their peers more than they resemble their parents. And culturally that stuff wears on you, not wears on you, but that stuff impacts you and shapes you and molds you more so than the physical appearance.

Changes your thinking. Yeah. And we want kids to be like us, right?

Our kids to be like us. And I think we should. And there are places where biblically speaking, we've been mandated to do that. Right. You know, and like Deuteronomy chapter six, the Shema, you know, hear Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one. And these commands that I give you today shall be on your heart and you shall teach them to your children, diligent, I'm kind of paraphrasing here, you know, and when you sit and when you walk and you know, all of that, the command should be passed down to your children. Right. So also Proverbs talks about train up a child in the way they should go so that when they're old, they won't depart from it.

Then you get into the New Testament. Same thing is given. People brought their kids to Jesus so he would bless them. Right.

That's very special. Think about that for a moment. You know, we think parents dote over their kids now, but no, 2000 years ago, they were like, would you please bless my little Jimmy? Cause I want him to grow up and rule the world. And I know if you touch his head, he'll do it.

Yep. Like, like, you know, James and John's mama says that can, can they come, can they sit next to you in the kingdom? And he's like, Hey, you know, you don't understand. That's not for me to decide. That's the father's job.

You don't understand what you're asking for. And then of course, Paul talks about in the husband-wife relationship, you know, he brings up kids, children obey your parents in the Lord, but this is good. And parents don't exasperate, you know, your children, but raise them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. So there's a place for training and teaching our children to walk in the right way. So don't, don't wash your hands away and say, well, I guess they're going to all be like their, their, their peers.

No, you have a job to do. Having said that, we need to recognize that there is, there are differences in generations. So quickly kind of moving forward with this, there's so much I can share about the history. Two individuals, William Strauss or Bill Strauss and Neil Howe, they wrote a book called Generations. Here's the book for those who are watching on YouTube. The history of America's future 1584 to 2069.

This is it right here. A great book. And the thing about this book is even though this came out in 1990 to 1991, the things they talked about actually happened.

So 1991 to today would be what, 32 years. Right. And guess what?

This book is still going pretty strong. Wow. I guess that's why it's able to go up to 2069 because it can predict those trends. Yeah. Yeah. That's what they were doing. They were trying to predict the trend.

And how do they do that? So they, they claim that there are four turnings that repeat for each cycle. Okay. Historical cycles are four turnings that repeat for each cycle and each cycle has thematically similar turnings. So here are the four turnings in each cycle, each cycle.

Okay. So first is the high. The high is which follows the crisis that ended the previous cycle. This period is typified by strong institutions and social collectivism and weak individualism. This is the high.

Okay. Followed by the awakening. The awakening is this period which is typified by increasing personal and spiritual autonomy of people.

During this period, social institutions may be attacked, impeding public progress. That's the awakening. So high, then the awakening. Then comes the unraveling. The unraveling is this period of tip, which is typified by weak institutions that are distrusted, weak institutions that are distrusted.

And during this period, individualism is strong and flourishing. This is the unraveling. Now the fourth cycle or turning in this cycle, right? Each cycle is the crisis. This is an era of destruction through war where institutional life is destroyed. Example would be war. However, as this period ends, institutions will be rebuilt. Society will rediscover the benefits of being part of a collective and community purpose will take precedence again. So what are the four turnings in this historical cycle? You have the high, the awakening, the unraveling, and then the crisis. It's kind of like that strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create bad times, bad times create strong men sort of thing.

That's a very good curriculum. Yeah. I've seen that on Facebook. I just, I didn't know it was based on actual research. That makes sense. Those, those patterns that continue to repeat throughout history set up the generations in that way. And because it's cyclical, like you said, Dr. Shai, it really lends itself well to predicting trends far out into the future.

You can store it. It really is almost mystical when you look at it like, wow, it really happened. But if you look at the way that it's been going throughout history, Or American history. They're just focused on 1584 to 2069, right? Because that's one of their weak points.

People have brought up things like some places they don't have enough documented proof. Some places they're only focused on American culture. Why just American culture? If this is really about generation, it should be all over the world. I get their point, but I think Strauss and Howe did a great job because every culture has their own generations. And if you live in America, then it applies to you.

So quit bellyaching. And the thing is now the world is growing and we are sort of, you know, with the internet age and with social media, we're sort of, you know, becoming more global. I get it, but that's not how it's been before.

So it was different. Now, something else these guys did, which is this, they also try to identify generations based on which turning they were in the cycle. So there's the prophet generation born near the end of a crisis. And during a time of community cohesion and strong social order, that's when they were born, prophets are described as indulged children of a post-crisis era. Prophets are believed to be, to grow up as young crusaders who in middle life become focused on morals and principles.

Prophets. Then come the nomads. The nomads are born during an awakening. So prophets are from the high.

Y'all still with me? The high turning, but nomads are born during awakening when crusader prophets are attacking the status quo and its institutions. Consequently, nomads are described as growing up under protected and alienated in social chaos. Nomads are believed to grow into pragmatic and resilient adults. So keep those things in mind. So you have the prophets in high, nomads in awakening, but then for the unraveling, this generation is the hero generation.

So how, what are they like? When social institutions are weak and individuals have to be self-reliant and pragmatic, they are more protected than the children born during the chaos of an awakening. Heroes are believed to grow up as young optimists into energetic and overconfident and politically powerful adults.

Those are your heroes. So now we got three of the turnings. We have the prophet, the nomad and the heroes, but now come the artist generation. These go with the crisis cycle.

A turning. The artist generation are born after the unraveling during a crisis when external dangers recreate a demand for strong social institutions. Artists are believed to be overprotected by parents who are preoccupied with the dangers of the crisis.

Artists grow up into conformists and process oriented yet thoughtful adults. So if you put them all together, you have the high, the awakening, the unraveling, the crisis. You have the prophet, the nomad, the hero and the artist. The high give us prophets. The awakening gives us nomads.

The hero or a really the unraveling gives us the hero. And of course the crisis gives us artists, generations. Now what these guys did is they went all the way back to 1701 to just sort of lay out how these cycles have continued. And they called each of these seasons of history, they called them Sakelim. Sakelim is like an 80 to 90 year period. So first one is a revolutionary Sakelim where you have the awakening generation 1701 to 1723, nomad generation and the liberty generation 1724 to 1785, 1741, Republican generation 1742 to 1766. These are the heroes. The unraveling is the French and Indian war that's happening. And then 1767 to 1791 is the artist, which are coming out of the crisis, which is the American revolution. And that completes one cycle.

One cycle is completed. Wow. Yeah. It helps to see in context of history. Yeah. Like the historical events. Do you have another?

Trace it. Yeah. There's another one. There's a civil war Sakelim that begins in 1792 and ends in about 1859.

I can't read these numbers. Right. But the prophet idealist would be the one from 1792 to 1821, the era of good feeling. So you have James Monroe. We talked about him on our president show. You know, he is the manifest destiny.

He is the guy who says no more. None of you guys are welcome here. Americans don't try to put your flag on our soul. This is our ground.

This is America. You know, and prior to that, of course, you know, Jefferson had already sent out Lewis and Clark to go, go figure out the West and come give us the good news of how wonderful this land is and go West young man. You know, that was a big thing. Then came the gilded generation, the nomad generation. This is the awakening, the transcendental awakening that happened between 1822 to 1842. This also gave us the hero is sort of combined here, but then 1843 to 1859, what began to happen?

What was brewing? 1843 to 1859, something, something began to throb. We were talking about the civil war. That's it. Yeah. Civil war. And that's your crisis gave us the artist generation. Wow.

Very different. It's wild to just see without fail. Like here's where this is coming up next. Right. I wonder what about human history makes this keep happening and if it's in, if it's in anybody's power to stop it or to change it or to alter it any way, or if this just really is the cycle of life that God has set.

I think God has put it there for us. And those who want to know and learn can learn this. And again, it's not a perfect theory, but it helps you understand the differences.

And so far, when you look at it through the lens of American history, what you see is that it works. Then there's a great power curriculum, which is the missionary generation, 1860 to 1882, followed by the lost generation, the nomads, 1883 to 1900, a lot of missionary awakening kind of things happen. Then came the GI generation, which is 1901 to 1924, the unraveling, which is world war one, and then prohibition and all that stuff. Then came the silent generation, which is 1925 to 1942, which is World War one, World War two, World War two, 1942, World War two, and a great depression, all that.

Wow. That's the artist. And then we get the generational cycle goes again. This time is baby boomers, generation X millennial. And guess what?

The last turning of the cycle is called what? The crisis. Is that Gen Z? Gen Z. Yeah. And just what we began with.

This is a generation that has been hit with so many crises. Wow. Right.

So, and then throw in there the pandemic. Now it makes sense. So once you understand that this is the artist generation we're dealing with, you reach them differently.

You have to. You can't treat them like they are the prophets or the nomads or the heroes. They're the artists and they have their own specialty. That's right. No less, no more.

It gives you a heart for them. And then following is the generation alpha, which again, kick starts the new cycle, which is going to be the prophet, the high. Wow. Oh man. It's crazy to see it go round and round and round. That's crazy.

I'm like taking notes for my kids. I know. That's crazy. Well, that's the kind of, that's the thing, isn't it? I mean, it's like you're learning from it and you're seeing, okay, how has, how has all the prophet cycles been so far?

What do they have in common? This is what my kids can expect. Yeah. Yeah. It helps us. It helps us chart a course for it. I want to, I want to dive into this further on, on another episode. I want to continue exploring that conversation. If you guys enjoyed today's topic, if you think that was helpful for you, if you glean something from today's episode, let us know by sending us a text to 252-582-5028. If you have questions about these generations, what does that breakdown look like? Where do you see yourself?

Where are your kids? Let us know by sending in that text. Or you can email us at contact at Don't forget, you can support us financially on that same website. Partner with us as we seek to impact as many people, as many generations as possible with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That's right. Paul G wrote in, he wants to know if you could have any superpower for five minutes, what would it be? I'd like to fly. I predicted teleportation, but I think flying is close enough. If it's only five minutes, that was, that was the kicker. Yeah. Teleportation would be great, but if it's only five minutes. I said with the way Dr. Shutt travels, he would probably want to teleport straight to his, his destination.

Like, like just plan the vacation of a lifetime, just right there. But flying is close enough. Yeah. That'd be good.

Fly for five minutes. There you go. Very cool. Nice. We love you guys. We'll see you next time on Clearview Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-02 10:09:24 / 2023-03-02 10:21:28 / 12

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