“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ever wonder how we got here? What changed the world from Anne Shirley’s Lake of Shining Waters to the world of Katniss Everdeen’s Hunger Games?
What was it about their mothers’ world that spurred 1900s women to don suffragette ribbons and attack police officers in their determination to open voting to women?
What was it about the suffragettes and their horrific Great War that inspired their daughters to bob their hair and flap the Charleston?
What was it about the 1920s flappers’ heady irresponsibility that handed their daughters a nightmare called the Great Depression?
How did the desperation of Depression days prepare girls in the 1940s to leave their aprons in the kitchen and flood to the workforce as the homefront mobilized?
What was it about the return to normalcy after World War II that caused women in the fifties to detest anything “old fashioned” and insist on a new, gleaming Chrome-and-Formica society without the drudgery of Depression days, mortgages notwithstanding?
What was it about their Mrs. Cleaver pearls and heels that led their daughters to burn their bras and smoke dope at Woodstock?
What about the modernity of the sixties that sent children of the seventies into the woods, grasping for puke green and mustard shag carpeting in a scramble to return to simpler days?
What about the overdone seventies made the eighties such a hodgepodge of straitlaced, spiked hair, geometric oddness? What about the preceding decades brought such a tsunami of divorce and pain in this decade and the next?
What about the naivete of the eighties made the nineties so shoulder pad happy and “It’s the Nineties!” overconfident?
What was it about clunky shoes, carpenter pants and grungy overshirts that gave birth to skinny jeans and yoga pants? What was it about mockery of every random thing that gave birth to contempt for everyone besides self? What is it about previous generations that’s convinced the current one they’ve arrived?
I’d love to know.
What is it about the rule-making of the previous century that’s caused modern Christians to grope for grace?
What is it about our modern grace abusing that’s setting the next generation up for disaster?
It’s a hard question. I don’t think enough is made of grace. But as the lines between holiness and worldliness are erased, the foundation for a stable society is eroding right along with it.
In the end, I think hope rests where it always has.
With the Messiah. With Jesus.
Jesus has always been the answer to society’s problems. People who’ve found Jesus, in any age, have avoided society’s plagues.
He was the One who settled the suffragettes and answered their prayers for a voice.
Jesus changed the lives of many who walked the sawdust trails as Billy Sunday preached for folks to “climb on the water wagon.” Jesus was the One people mocked in the speakeasies as flappers chugged their bootleg liquor.
Jesus is the One who ended the war that didn’t end all wars. He allowed the world to see just how evil mankind can become when our eyes are on our own glory.
Jesus is the One who gave people a reason and the power to press on through the Great Depression rather than bust out a window and jump to end it all.
Jesus is the One who was persecuted in Hitler’s ovens. He’s the One who kept tired women awake through shift changes and piles of dirty laundry while the men were overseas.
Jesus blessed those same women after the war with conveniences that opened opportunities for education and personal growth like never before. Jesus sustained families hunted by mindless bigotry, preserving them from hatred and making them love in return.
Jesus saved many a broken hippie in the Jesus People revolutions of the sixties, when grace abounded much more than sin abounded.
Jesus sustained Christians in Communist lands through atrocities while he kept America a safe haven for those fleeing Communism. He kept the Cold War from ever getting hot.
Jesus gave us the moral revolution of the eighties with Reagan and the silent majority finally standing up for right.
Jesus loved us through the nineties. Wow.
Jesus kept away Y2K and the fear of meltdown that kept Vienna Sausages and Spam in business.
Jesus navigated us through 9/11 and the fear of future terrorism that followed. He’s kept us safely through fearsome elections and financial disasters. Only He can unravel personal problems snarled up in cultural ugliness and bring something beautiful out of it.
He’s transformed my life when I was all set up to follow the broad way to destruction.
He’s the unsung Hero of every happy news story. If all the news agencies in the world decided to take a year to only cover what He’s done that year, they’d never scratch the surface.
How has Jesus helped you jump society’s hurdles? Have you met Him? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Angry suffragette. Corsets and Cutlasses blog, Library of Congress photo, London, 1913.
Charleston at the Capitol. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs. National Photo Co., circa 1920.
Destitute Pea Pickers in California. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs. Dorothea Lange, 1936.
Train to Be a Nurse’s Aid. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs. Federal Art Project, circa 1942.
Roger Wilkerson, The Suburban Legend. Roger Wilkerson Tumblr Site.
Sad Hippie. Fan Pop Image.
All in the Family: Good Fun or Bad Taste? TV Guide Magazine via Pinterest. May 29, 1971.
Diana and the Newest Star in the Royal Family. Original Life Magazines. December 1984.
The Clintons at Christmas. Pinterest.
Jesus People. Fuller/David Allan Hubbard Library. Circa 1967.
Trina. Unsplash Image. Photo by Ariel Lustre, Yosemite Valley, USA.
Suffragette v. Police. Vintage Everyday. Circa 1912.
Doris Day Cooking at Home. IMDb via Pinterest. 1950.
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