I am a product of my generation. I was born in the late 60's, was a child in the 70's and a teenager in the 80's, and in college in the 90's. Much of how I think, and how I see the world is filtered by generation I grew up in along with the life experiences I have had. How can it not be?
I recall in the early 80's having a discussion with my mother. My mother grew up in the 40's and 50's, during the height of the cold war. In the early 80's US and Russian relations were strained at best. I recall the fear that my mother had of the Russians and the nuclear war that she believed was a real possibility. When my mother spoke of this I looked at her like she was crazy, and I told her that. My fear was not the Russians, I felt that they at least had enough common sense to know that if they engaged in nuclear warfare with the US it would be returned and mutually assured destruction of both countries would occur. My perception was that the Russians did not want to die any more than the Americans did. I recall telling my mother my fear was the middle east and the Islamic radicals that had no fear of death, hence no fear of killing Americans. She didn't get it, any more than I understood her fear of Russia.
If you look back at the knowledge society had 10, 20, or even 30 years ago you can see how as a society we have evolved, especially when it comes to issues such as parenting, interpersonal relationships, self awareness, etc., the list is quite long. Its like Oprah says "when you know better you do better."
The church for better or for worse has had to change and adapt with society. Albeit most change in the church as come at a snail's pace. In a church that believes it has all the correct and right answers, I think it is difficult to accept change, because for many it is akin to admitting that perhaps the church does not know everything and is evolving along with society. What is ironic about this belief is that the Church also believes that, as we evolve and change as individuals, we gain further light and knowledge. So on one hand we are expected to grow and progress as individuals, but at the same time we are expected to be resistant to change if contradicts or is not in harmony with any thing ANY church leader might have said in the past, or currently.
A simple look at Church history demonstrates that on many issues, both doctrinal and moral the church has evolved over the years. In fact to read some of the statements said by church leaders can be shocking, if considered in our modern day context. But what we have to recall is that those statements were not said in the context of the knowledge we have now, they were said in the context of the knowledge the leaders had at the time. As as Oprah says "when you know better you do better."
I think it is also important to consider that just as I filter information, knowledge, and light through the generation and life experience I have had, leaders making statements also filter through their generation and life experience. As much as we like to think what they say is the pure "word of God" I think its more like the word of God filtered. And I am ok with that, because I know that I have the opportunity to get on my knees, receive my own confirmation and revelation, filtered through the generation I grew up in, and the life experiences I have had.