01 August 2010


I had occasion, early this morning, to look at a clip of the last few minutes of the movie "The Graduate":

The icons in this film clip include, especially strikingly, the locked church, the use of a Cross by Ben at the end both to fend off the crowd - and most movingly, the use of that same Cross to lock the crowd in.

I was born in 1942.  Although my own family's life never really matched the straight, up-tight stereotypes represented in the film - and though the film can easily be viewed simply as a classic romance of love fulfilled at last - there can be no doubt of its power as a symbol for the transition from the time of my youth - Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best - to the totally transformed world of "The Sixties"

All ages experience change.  John Henry Newman was born in 1801 - 14 years before the Battle of Waterloo - and died in 1890 in a world with the beginnings of commercial telephony, electric power, and automotive transport.  And he, also, experienced a great revolution, which I know only vaguely, that of German theological liberalism.  Still, to me, looking back, the change over his lifetime appears more gradual.

That of the Sixties was not gradual.  I have seen it said that the the revolution of the Sixties began on 22 November, 1963, with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  It is easy to point to the pre-conditions of this change, easy to point to the persistence of the old.  Certainly a major pre-condition was the development of the female oral contraceptive.

Nevertheless, the world of 1968 - when I, in particular, first used marijuana and LSD - was so different from that of 1963 that I think it worthwhile calling it a revolution.

My own conversion to Christianity, at the end of 1969, can certainly be seen as a reaction to all of this.  Indeed, the 'Jesus Movement' is contemporaneous with that, and I am certainly part of it.  I suppose we are all parts of great movements of this sort.  It was certainly a revolution for me - and I thank God for that.  Certainly in 1963 I could never have the changes my life was to experience.

Nor those of the world.

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