I hope we all realize the world will never be the same. We have reached the end of an era and a new one has begun.
During the early stages of Covid pandemic, many thought (or hoped) that the plague would pass and things would return to normal. It did not–and then mob anarchy ignited in Democrat-led cities around the nation.
We now live in a new time-period and face the most crucial election of our lifetime in 74 days. I will comment on that next week and use this one to set the stage.
Here is how the Baby Boom generation squandered the easiest era in history.
How the Baby Boom Squandered the Easiest Era in History
One problem of finite existence comes from each of us living a brief life and interpreting everything we see through that lens.
In his eighties, Bill Graham famously told an interviewer that the greatest thing he had learned about life was “how short it is.”
Whether we live the years of my mother (35) or of my father (94) or my current age (67), all lifespans are pikers compared to 6,000 years of human history. Our brief stint on earth lacks perspective of the past and where we fit in the scheme of things.
This myopic view makes the study of history invaluable.
I love history because it reminds me how diverse life on earth has been for many people (and still is around the world), and how events and movements have shaped the direction of human civilization. I especially enjoy seeing God’s hand in guiding history.
Hundreds of years ago, people gave that phenomenon a name: Providence.
Richard Stearns, former president of World Vision, explains in his book Unfinished that every human being chooses one of three narratives about life. We either choose to have “no story,” make up “our own story” for personal fulfillment, or we enter “God’s story” and find our ordained purpose.
I chose the latter fifty years ago–and have pursued God’s perspective on history and salvation ever since.
Many of you did the same.
We are all born into what historians call eras or time periods where certain events/trends dominate the landscape. Some stretch for centuries such as the Pax Romana (Roman Empire) which impacted the known world from 27 B.C. to 476 A.D. Its influence carried on for nearly a millennium.
Other eras are brief, such as the “Roaring Twenties” (a decade) in the early 20th century.
According to one listing, America’s four hundred year history (beginning with the colonial period) can be divided up into forty-one different eras. They include the First Great Awakening (1730’s-174o’s), the American Revolution (1775-1783), Manifest Destiny (c.1812-c.1860), the War Between the States–Civil War (1861-1865), Reconstruction (1865-1877), the Gilded Age (1869-c.1896), and the World Wars (1914-1918 and 1941-1945).
Some eras overlap and even contain funny names. “The Era of Good Feelings” comes to mind which took place 1817-1825.
This summer I read David McCullough’s 1776 and Bill O’Reilly’s Killing England to get a sense of the patriotism and sacrifice that birthed America. If today’s street mobs had any idea of what our forefathers went through for our freedom, they would be bowing before the statutes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson instead of defacing them.
Ignorance of history is practically a crime.
Which brings us to the last era of America history (1950-2020) which has ended. I am familiar with this period because it contains my lifetime. It began after the World War II when millions of young American servicemen and women came home from war, got married, started families, and went on with their lives.
We call that group the “Builder Generation.” Tom Brokaw crowns them the “Greatest Generation” which is appropriate for what they did–but open to debate. Their sheer numbers entering back into married life gave birth to the “Baby Boom” generation (those born 1946-1964).
I was born in the middle of that 71 million person wave in 1953.
I believe we were born into the “Easiest Era of All-Time.”
Why the easiest?
Using Francis Schaeffer’s characterization of the modern world living for “personal peace and affluence,” our generation experienced more of those qualities than any other:
- We were born into primarily stable two-parent homes. “Leave it to Beaver” and “Fathers Knows Best” were appropriate to describe most of our childhoods. We went to good schools and lived in safe neighborhoods.
- Our level of conveniences (refrigerators, cars, telephones, washing machines, computers etc.) dwarfs what any king or society ever experienced.
- Our generation saw relative peace on earth–especially compared to the carnage of the world wars where 85 millions died.
- We enjoyed greater wealth, luxuries, ability to travel, communicate, and pursue our dreams than any generation on the planet.
1950-2020 in the United States of America stands as the most privileged time to be alive in all recorded history.
Of course, there were problems–even in my life. I lost my mother at nine; My dad went to prison unjustly when I was fourteen. Many other boomers lived harder lives than I-as did billions of people on earth during the latter part of the 20th century.
Still, I was blessed to be born into the “Easiest Era of All-Time” in the USA.
But our generation squandered it.
Yes, we saw ourselves as a visionary generation and produced some of the technological marvels we now enjoy (think of Steve Jobs of Apple and Bill Gates at Microsoft).
But, overall, we settled for selfishly pursuing personal peace and affluence in our Easy World (with exceptions like the Jesus Revolution and some other good causes).
In general, the extremely blessed Baby Boom generation began the destruction of American greatness and exceptionalism.
Our hippie revolution abandoned God, rejected authority (police), and normalized sex outside of marriage which began the destruction of the American family. Whereas only 20% of couples divorced in the 1950’s, that grew to 50% by the 1970’s and 60% today.
We started the trend of drug abuse by glamorizing marijuana and psychedelic drug experimentation which produced the opioid epidemic we now endure.
We allowed God and prayer to be removed from the schools—which eventually became mostly secular and anti-American. We killed our babies via abortion–creating a callousness about life and death on all levels. In adulthood, we took our personal narcissism into positions of government, the media, arts and entertainment, business, sports and higher education where we filled the world with confusion, radical ideology and Me-centeredness.
Subsequent generations simply built upon our foundations of sand.
Now militant atheism (a better term for the Left) stalks major American cities, social media reeks as a cesspool of vulgarity and bitterness (the cancel culture) remains hell-bent on destroying free speech and all biblical values.
The most popular movement in America–Black Lives Matter–exploits racial tensions through well-meaning but gullible athletes while BLM’s leaders plan Marxist revolution that boomers cheered in the 60’s and now teach in the universities.
Where this leads no one knows. Did the Baby Boom generation inaugurate the final “turning away” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) before global tyranny and the return of Jesus? Or will God use our repentance to bring another great awakening?
We do know two things:
The Baby Boom generation squandered the easiest era in world history. And,
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Next: What the 2020 Presidential Election Means to America’s Future.