The Flip-Flop Generation

by Steve Klein

Flip flops are perhaps the most casual footwear known to man. According to an online article entitled "The History of Flip Flops," flip flop type footwear has been around for thousands of years, but has only become accepted in American culture since the 1950's ( The article states the following:

"Flip flops became defining examples of an informal lifestyle and came to represent the California lifestyle in general and surf culture in particular. It seemed like all kids wore them to the beach or the pool and cheap rubber flip flops appeared in every dime store and beach shop. Over time, designs spread from rubber to wood to leather to bamboo and stylized platforms, yet all of them remaining true to the original base design of the early rubber flip flops. Flip flops were mostly summer shoes for most of the country until the 1990s, when fashion in the workplace started changing and loosening, with experiments like casual Fridays and casual summer dress codes."

Nowadays, flip flops are everywhere. On July 19, 2005, some members of Northwestern University's national champion women's lacrosse team even wore "flip-flops" to the White House to meet with President George W. Bush.

Just as flip flop footwear epitomizes our generation's casual approach to attire, the term flip flop also captures our generation's approach to truth and morality. Don't get me wrong. I am not at all claiming that the moral demise of America can be attributed to its choice of footwear. While it could be argued that a casual approach to dress may be linked to a casual approach to morality, that is not my point. My point is that whether there is any direct connection or not, the generation that wears flip flops on its feet is also the generation that flip-flops in its soul.

God's truth is "forever . . . settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89). But it is not settled in the minds of many of today's men and women. Like Reuben long ago, we are "unstable as water" (Genesis 49:4). We cannot seem to make up our minds for certain about any number of moral and spiritual issues. Think about these questions:

  • Can a person be saved without being baptized for the remission of sins? (see Mark 16:16)
  • Is drinking alcohol for pleasure wrong? (see Proverbs 23:29-35; I Peter 4:3)
  • Is it wrong to promise to repay a loan and then fail to do so because it presents a hardship? (see Proverbs 15:4-5)
  • Should Christians go to church regularly? (see Hebrews 10:25)
  • Is it wrong for women (and men) to dress in immodest or provocative attire in public? (see I Timothy 2:9; Matthew 18:7)

The sad truth is that most people in the world, and far too many Christians, cannot seem to make up their minds about these issues (and many others) from one moment to the next. We are like "children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14). Bible virtues such as conviction and steadfastness have no place in our modern lives. We have not heeded Peter's warning: "Beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked" (II Peter 3:17). We need to repent and pray like David did, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10).