A Child of the 60’s speaks out!
As a child of the 60’s, I grew up listening to the music of the great protest artists such as Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel and Barry McGuire. Later in the 70s I became a fan of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and in the 80’s the group called Kansas. Each of these groups somehow seems to reflect the collective consciousness of my generation. If you haven’t caught on yet I was a hippie, a child of the 60s, a bona fide flower child of the love generation. One of the unique things about my generation was idealism. The idea, that very powerful idea of doing something collectively wonderful drove us to protest against the war and against “the man”. In that day, “the man” was the collective culprit of self-centeredness. My generation was also the time of the Jesus movement. It was a time in which a number of young Jewish people began to seek out spirituality in order to define themselves by something greater than themselves. Some went to live in communes, while others traveled the world seeking a teacher, and for us who were poor, we had dreams of San Francisco.
In my 20s I was groovy. I drove a Volkswagen convertible while wearing a long robe and dark sunglasses. I wasn’t cool, I was groovy! In my search for identity and idealism, I, like many others found Yeshua. Shortly after that my first wife now of blessed memory also found her place in the universe through Yeshua. We were groovy, we were cool, and we were saved! However, far more important than being groove and counter culture we knew who we were and what we were by faith. We were Jews who believed.
We were a generation that wanted to do something great for the collective, to help them rise above it all. We were young idealists who were saved, and to quote the Blues Brothers “We were on a mission from God!”
Nonetheless, time does not stand still and for many of those young idealists of the 60’s, the reality of the real world slowly came flooding in. So the idealistic dreams of many from my generation fall on the soft ground of capitalism and narcissism and disappeared. Yet, there are a few of us who found ourselves and our purpose through faith and we have struggled and maintained our idealism and our identity by our faith.
Sadness comes when we realize that many of my generation became the new essence of “the man”. What happen to the idealist of my generation, where have they all gone? Does this mean that I am getting old because I am asking these questions? Have we become like that song from Kansas “Dust in the Wind”? You know the words “Same OLD SONG nothing last forever but the earth and sky”.
I recently was talking to my grandson and he used the phrase “back in your generation” it was so and so or it was like this or that. I thought about what he said…but not much, because what struck me was, “back in your generation” what does that mean? Does that mean that I am old and he is young or maybe he is under the impression that older people are antiquated? Now I have spent some time (but not a lot) thinking about his statement and he is partially right. When we are no longer relevant we become antiquated. When we quit being current and when we quit dreaming we cease to be that generation of idealist. A generation without idealist who are driven by faith condemns our children to become the generation of narcissism. The truth remains that many of our children who have grown up in the synagogue or in the church and have left their faith behind because of the loss of dreamers and idealist to follow thus, leaving them to fall on the fertile ground of narcissism.
Yet do not think all is lost because there are still young idealist and dreamers still out there, those who believe they can make a difference and change the world and all they need is for “us the believing idealist” to guide them and teach them. Understand you are only antiquated when you are not relevant. My grandson was only partially right because as long as we live and teach while maintaining our dreams, it is still OUR generation.
Still, the question in my mind is, do any of us remember who we are, or what we believe? Is everything in our generation today for sale, which includes our ideals, our identity and our faith? There are times I just want to yell out “WAKE UP YOU OLD FARTS, this generation needs you, they need your wisdom, your heart, your ideals to build on.” I have a daughter who says “Dad you used to be part of the hip generation and now you are part of the hip replacement generation”. She is wrong! I don’t need a hip replacement at least not yet! And I am still groovy and it is still my generation.
Being a congregational messianic leader for 18 years I have seen people come and go. Some were meant to be only for season and that is understood, while others declare they found themselves in Messianic Judaism. Nevertheless in time, most leave, but not all. Did you notice the part of the last sentence “but not all”, these are your young idealist. Now you Rabbi’s and teachers, you should not forget whose tzitzits these young idealists in faith hold on to…its yours!
In this blog, I am forced to confess my confusion concerning those who come to synagogue, a messianic synagogue and after some time leave. I am equally confused when a messianic Jewish person chooses not to live the Jewish life anymore. Can they really become non-Jews? In both these cases I have known Rabbi after Rabbi who has had his heart broken, but because of his idealism he finds in his faith, he continues to be God’s chosen, to be the servant, to be the idealist to be the teacher for this generation. To that minority of dreamers, vision casters called idealist from whatever generation we may come may it be hippies, punkers, blue collar or suites I say, “Carry on, dream dreams, sing songs, raise hell, be the mutants of our society, but keep the faith and remember, It’s good to be us”.