Tuesday, March 22, 2005

AMERICA'S NO. 1 SPIRITUAL CONDITION? I am guessing that cynicism may well be the number one spiritual condition in America today. Any thoughts? How do you define or describe cynicism? Any examples?

IMPACT OF SOCIO-POLITICAL TRAUMAS. My take: cynicism has mushroomed in my generation, perhaps to unprecedented levels. One of my earliest childhood memories (I was four years old) is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the extended national mourning that ensued. Those of us who moved from childhood to adolescence in the 1960's and 70's absorbed the social-emotional impacts of the Vietnam debacle, student killings at Kent State University, the struggle for civil rights, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and, to cap it all off, the Watergate scandal and the resignation of the disgraced Richard M. Nixon. And looming silently as a backdrop to this drama, was--is still--the omnipresent specter of a nuclear mushroom cloud.

FROM IDEALISTS TO CYNICS. So, a generation of idealists called to "ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country," became the drop-out generation, the drugged-out generation, the self-absorbed generation, the self-promoting generation, the ever "seeking" generation. We have pushed the divorce rate to record levels. We have clogged the courts with frivilous cases. We blame everyone and take little responsibility. We use communities and people and then discard or disregard them. It appears that our collective generational response to the socio-political traumas of the 1960's is a robust and cancerous cynicism.

WERE IT NOT FOR THE RESURRECTION. Were it not for the Resurrection, cynicism might be an acceptable response to our situation. Were it not for the Empty Tomb, cynicism could be fairly justified as a coping mechanism. Were it not for the Third Day, cynicism makes some semblance of sense in the face of these personal and social realities. But Easter--simply, profoundly--changes everything.

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