With due respect (and I mean that) to those sacrificing themselves and loved ones regarding the Vietnam War I find rare mention among those who came to saving faith in Jesus in those days mentioning that such was partly how they reached the conclusion to “eat, drink (and drug), be merry (all sex in whatever fashion) for tomorrow we die”.
Part of the sense of hopelessness, despair and spiritual vacuum so many of us felt and truly experienced then was of course fed via broken homes, a broken and largely business-enterprise system running political you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours deals, what Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex”, plenty of surfaced, blatant racism and certainly sin nature and not only imago dei in us all. And yes, a war many Americans did not believe in nor voted to ensue.
See, when nothing else makes sense and finally life seems meaningless, if anything, searching for love (whatever that really is or means at least to us as individuals) is about all that’s left.
So we hippies headed for spiritual experiences, things like I’ve listed above. The mantra (from Timothy Leary) “Turn on, tune in, drop out” in such scenarios a possible cool freaking option. Only it wasn’t. Nor were eastern and other religious/quasi-religious experiences we flocked to.
If as an old preacher said, “God’s address is at the end of yourself” I reckon those of us who reached it were deeply affected by all this.
Sanitizing the reasons, the forces other than demonic (which I fully believe in by the way) are often not brought to bear in discussions of the mass of hippies, students, street people who came by the thousands to faith in the crucified, risen Jesus Christ and who began to follow Him as their Lord and Savior.
Was all immediately or even later fully “well” with us? Is it now?? Look at your own life, then the churches (and I mean ANY form of supposed Christian gathering) and the other issues I’ve listed above. So similar and perhaps advanced into chains and pains have so many come even today as I write in January, 2023. Consider white suburban housewives and others working legal 9-5 jobs make up a if not the major demographic of opioid-addicted people in the United States.
Following Jesus has always gone beyond headlines, sound-bites, slogans or even church membership. It did in Jesus’ teaching and His example, His daily walk in relation to God the Father and his disciples.
As so many celebrate a sort of 50th anniversary of what I believe the most significant, genuine move of God the Holy Spirit in terms of authentic conversion to Christian faith of the last century, let us not remain ignorant of how it came about.
As I just said, of course God the Spirit moved. We sometimes skip over the practical realities of those days and I think it important to not merely spiritualize what happened.
Individual and corporate sin and injustice are nothing new. They were part of the ferile soil for the Holy Spirit and are so today.
I suggest we at least on occasion take sober inventory of the events that cracked open hard, lost, wandering, wondering hearts in the late sixties and early seventies. As per other times of severe calamities on earth such as war and pandemics, political turmoil and violence, when those things we placed trust in over God Himself are what we think shall save or sustain us fail -and they will… it is the Person of Jesus Christ Himself, resurrected and coming again – Who must.be.our.focus!
The Living Word Himself IS and has given us true words of life.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn