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A historian once wrote, “Every generation is equidistant from the Kingdom of God.” Among other things this means that the spiritual quality of life does not automatically improve from one generation to the next. The term “generation gap” came into play in the 1960s. I suggest, however, that “each generation is equidistant from the one just before it.”

Jo and I married in 1951 and have been blessed with three children: Carol (b. 1953), Hal (b. 1955) and Philip (b. 1960). I must leave it to each of them to tell their own story in their own way. I want to observe here, nonetheless, that they came of age in the turbulent sixties and the so-called “youth revolution.” They were marked by those peculiar pressures but have survived them.

They and their peers are the first generation to have grown up from infancy with TV, the hydrogen bomb, and jet travel. And in their adolescence they could watch “live” the assassination of a President, the Vietnam War, the Rock music festivals, and Watergate. Even the fact of World War II in my adolescence could not match the intensity and the violence of their teenage environment.

We simply had the task of adjusting to a culture—they had to do that while the culture about them was exploding and an era was coming to an end. What will yet emerge no one can predict but it will be their generation that lays the groundwork. What they can salvage from their spiritual roots will prove to be the test of the spirit of our generation just as ours is the proof of the generation before us.

Whatever develops, they, too, will be wrestling with the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

from The Illustrated View from My Ridge