Here is my reply to a q from a good, gracious friend in the faith.
“Good afternoon brother. Hope that you enjoyed a couple of days in the woods. Question for you. I’ve been seeing the trailers for the Jesus Music movie and it has gotten me thinking. What happened? I mean it seems like in the 70’s people were more open to the message of the early Jesus Movement and music. As a movement folks seemed more caring. Today seems less open to the message and many of those delivering the message seem different. What happened is [over] a relatively short period of time.”
My Friend- thx again, always love getting out in nature very much! Excellent question! I truly love the simplicity of times in woods and on or near waters but also love people in need so I cannot in good conscience live out there…
So to your concerns. A lot of believers came to saving faith in Jesus in those years. The simple Good News in a complex society of injustices, war and racism brought healing to soooo many of us! The problem of not being open in society around the church… and not being open within it… that’s more complex again. I don’t mean you when I say many of us don’t want to think too much. We love simplicity and for good reason… and sometimes bad.
If (Greek) a “disciple” of Jesus is one who listens and LEARNS the mind has to engage with greater depth. Self-defense, protection and “me FIRST” above all else and massive, often false judgment of “the other” has to take a back seat. Look at what Jesus both said and did and you’ll find NONE of the latter in Him. Look outside and within the churches and you’ll find far too much.
God the Holy Spirit showed up big time in the late 60’s-early ’70’s and thousands of people were desperate enough to understand surrender to Him and His ways at the most basic level. So on one hand simplicity was the greatest blessing to us then… but mark this: continuing in simplicity and ONLY simple-minded concepts when God challenges our socks off for change and growth in our heart and activity of serving OTHERS as opposed to ME ME and ME and MINE is a train-wreck.
So hearts grow hard instead of soft. We tire of the personal sacrifices and call to forgive, be kind, live out His deepest commands to love as Jesus loves -because there is real pain involved. We look back on earlier times when such change seemed nearly effortless and in some areas of our lives it was. So frustration, anger and vitriol are what many of us spout in the face of our enemies rather than the (talking about professing Christians now) fruit of the Holy Spirit.
People long for “the good old days”, we have that bent for the nostalgia -and stated bluntly, when white males controlled most everything… which in my view is a real-world denial of equity, growth and grace received and shared.
Israel wanted a worldly King, a Czar not a suffering Savior. They wanted dominance, not redemption to share with Samaritans, gentiles and riff-raff.
The Spirit continues to work to move us beyond spiritual kindergarten. Having experienced first love many of us would rather bail on further education as both listeners and learners. The kingdom of self must go.
God have mercy. -Glenn