I came of age during the tumultuous sixties. The Vietnam War began in the middle of that decade. Prior to this, America was immersed in a promising rise in economic power. The growth of the middle class was the engine that powered the American economy after decades of depression and wartime economies.
Along the way, America seemed to lose its soul. Social protests marked the latter end of the sixties and became a cultural undercurrent against racial injustice, materialism, and a war far from home.
This undercurrent created a spiritual vacuum, and nature abhors a vacuum. It was quickly filled with a myriad of philosophies, religious movements, and lifestyles.
A culture shift
The range was staggering—eastern religions and philosophies, a resurgence in witchcraft, experimentation with illicit drugs, communes, and along came the Jesus Movement that challenged the traditions and status quo of Christianity.
This cultural shift wasn’t restricted to the US, but found its way throughout the world.
The Beatles mystical involvement with Transcendental Meditation and drugs led them to India for an audience with an Indian yogi. Their songs reflected this personal and famous cultural shift, while visiting the infamous Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.[i]
Prior to this, songwriters like Bob Dylan and other folk singers challenged America’s status quo on issues of social conscience, and Time magazine announced the spiritual vacuum with their cover declaring—God is dead. Inside this issue noted theologians touted the loss of America’s spiritual soul.
These were some of the prophets of that decade.
A breath of fresh air
In the midst of all the protests came a breath of fresh air spiritually. Waves of young people dropped out of the middle-class march and pursued all that reared its head at the time—including meditation, drug use, and free love.
Out of this move away from middle-class America, many turned to God and joined the Jesus Generation that launched what became the Jesus Movement.[ii] Although more well known and popular on the west coast, it took place across the nation, and spilled over to the next decade and into other nations.
The Olympics of 1972 (in Munich) were tragically marred by a terrorist attack on the Israeli Olympic team. But God’s counter was to send a ministry called YWAM (Youth With A Mission), which sent well over a thousand young people into the midst of millions from all over the world, and shared the love and hope of Jesus.[iii]
The Second Coming
A primary influence of this movement was an interest in the return of Jesus Christ—the Second Coming—when God returns to bring those who love Him to heaven, and also brings a final, apocalyptic judgment upon the earth.
It paralleled fears about over-population, famine and environmental ruin. Once again, God brought an answer to the world’s self-destructive spiral into despair—hope in His Son’s return to save the world from itself.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb 1:1-3)
Are you ready for the Lord's return to earth?
If so, how are you using your time and living that shows your readiness?
If not, what hinders you from opening your heart to God?
This is an excerpt from my book. Thanks for reading!
[i] The Haight-Ashbury district became a famous staging ground for the hippie movement, especially known for love-ins and hallucinogenic drug use
[ii] The Jesus Generation was a name given to the (primarily) young people in the Jesus Movement
[iii] For background on YWAM see this link– History of YWAM