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Fifty Year Later – Part 13

Is there Order to life?

 

Part 13: Is there Order to life?

Past

We often refer to what happened in the 60s as a revolution, as indeed it was. This chapter, asking about the traditional Christian church view, focuses on three aspects of the social question- sex and family, work, and social change, all of which were in flux in the 1960s, and all of which seemed to have been normative in the decades before. Not that everyone practiced or accepted the norm, but rather that no one flouted the norm openly or violently, until it all exploded. 

As for sex and the family, the nuclear family was the expected path into adulthood. Part of that path was the 9-5  routine at the office or the factory until father retired and collected his pension, while mother raised children and kept house. If a person rejected the path offered by society, there were not many enticing alternatives, and if the path was not offered to you because of the color of your skin, the alternatives were even fewer. I was part of that revolution, sceptical of the long term viability of the nuclear family, sceptical also of the lasting legacy of the traditional view of what it meant to work, and fully believing that society must change for the better, and that that change was in the process of happening. I-we- really believed that the times, they were a-changing, as Dylan put it. 

Present

The times have changed, unfortunately and ultimately for the worse. In the in between times, hard won progress set a tone of guarded optimism. The dehumanizing dimensions of the old path gradually gave way in certain ways to a more enlightened society, a society that accepted gay marriage, and sexual intimacy outside the legality of a marriage license. But the changes were and are not universally accepted, and some corners of society never changed at all, such as deep rooted racism and sexism. We have come through the time in between and now face an intensified  regression to the old ways, planned and executed with vengeance and violence.

Evangelical Christianity, a true oxymoron, has coupled with the Republican party to force birth while denying assistance to the nuclear family charged with raising its own children. The negation of gay marriage and denial of contraception lies on the horizon. Violence is promoted as a tool to overthrow democracy, while the aristocrats hoard the wealth and deny the vast majority their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Just as optimism was a tremor shaking the ground in the 60s, pessimism now is our veil, a darkness inhabiting our soul that clouds the light.

It is not so much my thinking that has changed over the last fifty years, as the attitude I bring to that thinking. That which was unthinkable fifty years ago takes place before our very eyes, and the future becomes frighteningly uncertain. We need a new revolution that will reverse our direction, and set us back again on a path of renewal and enlightenment. The means are at hand, and the challenges must be overcome. It is time to engage before all is lost.

 

Read the Series Here

Dr. Carl Krieg received his BA from Dartmouth College, MDiv from Union Theological Seminary in NYC and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of What to Believe? the Questions of Christian Faith,   The Void and the Vision and  The New Matrix: How the World We Live In Impacts Our Thinking About Self and God. As professor and pastor, Dr. Krieg has taught innumerable classes and led many discussion groups. He lives with his wife Margaret in Norwich, VT.

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