TWO MOVEMENTS, SEVERAL WARS

Once upon a time there was a war.Some thought the war was worth fighting. Some did not. Some took the view that evil people were seeking to take over much and if possible, all the world, re-fashioning it into the sort of world they (mainly their leaders) wanted it to be.While some enlisted, many were forced to fight a horrible, bloody and ultimately lost war. A great many lives were also lost- or so negatively impacted the individuals, often their marriages and families never recovered.Addictions of every sort devastated returning veterans of this war.Meanwhile at home a generation of largely middle-class whites as well as an increasing number of minority races and sub-cultural students and people groups decided that materialism did not satisfy their deepest longing.Music and other art forms exploded very much like the rockets falling in that foreign war and a growing youth/student culture rebelled against nearly all authority figures in light of increasing divorce, political scandals, the injustices of war, poverty, racism and what the young considered outdated societal norms of morality and various boundaries.They cried, marched, sang, wrote, acted, danced, drew and painted. They exchanged sex with one another and generally experimented with every possible intoxicant they could try all in search of experiencing meaning, freedom and love… but did not begin to grasp which beach these waves would plant them on.There was certainly the mix of heartfelt pain at genuine injustice, governmental and corporate greed as well as selfish individualism… but often such individualism was overshadowed by deep concern for a lasting peace and actual justice for minorities and the poor.The movement ended with drug overdoses, assassinations of several of their heroes, a president resigning in shame, an even deeper breaking apart of relationships than prior to the revolution happening, and eventually corporate co-opting of some of the trappings of the movement.In time, many if not most of the survivors became exactly as many of their parents and other elders before them: settling for the relative but spiritually empty financial security of this or that job.The dream of a truly better world was finished.They’d started with a deep sense of personal need and legitimate desire to change the world. In the end, the world changed them.Somewhere near the beginning of all this, somewhat in the middle of it and a bit more toward the end came a spiritual awakening among (primarily) the young, a movement that even impacted many in various “establishment” citadels of the time.Large numbers of students and other younger people came to believe that there was a purpose deeper than all others. They came to faith and growing conviction that their purpose and true life had only one true source, that being a Person, Jesus Christ- God in the flesh.They came to believe He actually died and rose again, love incarnate coming down not only for them as individuals but for everyone in the entire world.As more and more of these “Jesus People” or “Jesus Freaks” or “Street Christians” began their spiritual journey, a sizable portion of them came to re-assess what they should do and how they might live life in the practical sense.Literally thousands of them  became free of drug and other addictions. Many learned that both personal responsibility as well as “rendering to Caesar” were important to their new life. Due in part to this, they often left most of their recent subculture behind.In essence, they grew up, dressed and acted more conservatively and largely joined the work force taking “regular” jobs. Many excelled in their profession.But there were other wars.All too often, eventually, selfish individualism began to surface afresh.While some fell away from the faith or essentially sold out to materialism and came full-circle, becoming very much like their parents before them, many continued regular attendance at evangelical or other churches and in essence, lived “a good” but anything but radical life.They’d started with a deep sense of personal need and legitimate desire to change the world. In the end, perhaps the world changed them?Author’s Notes and Disclaimer- This article was written out of a number of inspirational moments. Years ago a lot of good Christian folks sat and and shared about “the good old days” and I could not but wonder why they did not willingly make the difficult choices to live a radical lifestyle now as they did then? During a tour a deeply loving Christian leader often spoke of radical discipleship and fruitful ministry which he indeed continues to live… but his cry was for so many who no longer do, for divorces, local and larger church splits over pettiness, lack of willingness to share food, clothing, housing and resources for the poor and so on. In part it was due to a blog by a close friend who challenged others re. a lack of love when it comes to sharing, the idea that grace is unearned while we seem to demand worthiness of the recipient before we share “what’s MINE”. And on it goes. I have never nor now preach living in an intentional Christian community as The Call for all Christ-followers, so I beg you not to think I infer that in this bit of writing! The issue is simply living with the same passion for Jesus, the First Love and abandon many of you had at first rather than allowing mainstream culture to shape you. One of many questions in the end is “who is discipling whom”? Is Jesus Lord or this or that middle-class self-interest based idea of God’s blessing wagging the dog? WHO do we truly serve? Were ALL and EVERY value of the hippies unbiblical and bogus? I think not, and I think our heavenly Father likely thinks the same. For too many, selling out is the norm- sadly, I do not mean selling out to Jesus, His Word and His calling… I think we must consider resurrecting the word “nominal” again. In short it means “being such in name only; so-called; named as a mere matter of form, being trifling in comparison with the actual value; minimal.”God help us!

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One thought on “TWO MOVEMENTS, SEVERAL WARS

  1. Thanks Glenn; This really took me back a ways, all the way back to the 1970s in fact; the decade of my youth. I grew up under the shadow of the first war you wrote of, herein. I missed having to make my choice between a defection north from my native Ca, to somewhere n. of the border by only a year or two. In ’76, our involvement in that "police action" had mostly ended, and i celebrated a birthday, my 17th and another type of choice i’d never anticipated. The choice was to continue my life in a dysfunctional family, or to join the military service. Then, as now, the US economy was in recession; and i’d just dropped out of high school, so my choices were severely limited. I chose the US Marines. But by now my response is nearly as long as your original ‘blog post, so i will place a chapter break, near here. But not before telling that this has taken me back, some nine – ten years before we would meet for the first time at a fledgling li’l fest. in Grayslake. I’ll add, finally , my thanks for this chance to introduce myself afresh to you, my old friend. GBY, and all you hold dear;SRGhttp://facebook.com/steve.garrett

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