and major world-changing events morph and become… not much.
That’s my response to this:
Last summer, at a Theology on Tap, Mike Hayes spoke. He wrote a new book Googling God about ministering to the young. For his research, he talked with sociologists and what-not and gave us an interesting exercise. He asked those of us in the room over 40 (there weren’t many of us) to write down major world-changing events that happened when we were between 16 and 20.
And then he asked people between 20 and 30 to do the same.
It was revelatory. The young people had a long litany of horrible things that had happened and that had marked their lives very personally and dramatically — from 9/11 to Columbine to Virginia Tech to the Iraq War to Oklahoma City. Those of us who were older just had one or two things — the Reagan assassination attempt was one. Others mentioned the Challenger disaster.
His point: young people now are hungry for a spiritual and religious life that is quiet, steady, unchanging, because their lives have been so tumultuous. [Emphasis mine – admin]
from The Anchoress
If I were 20 when you asked that question, I am sure I could answer with more world-changing events- even if you asked me in 1982, when I was 20. Why? Because 1. I’d remember more of the events. 2. More would seem world-changing. 3. It would have just happened.
Ask me what happened between 16 and 20 that was world-changing and I’d say…
Smallpox was eradicated. That is certainly world-changing. But it made such a small ripple at the time, at least in my world.
First invitro birth happened. Now people all over can have babies who couldn’t before. THAT is world-changing. And we knew it at the time too. I remember I was on Judge Ely Blvd driving back to class with someone when I heard that.
The Ayatollah Khomeni came to power. The Shah was ousted and our relationship with Iran went from trash to … trash. But it did change the world. American hostages were held for over a year. That SHOULD have changed the world, but didn’t.
MRI machines introduced. That has made a huge difference. It saved my husband’s boss’s life, accidentally.
AIDS first identified. Obviously this made changes to the world. I remember the shock of people who had transfusions were dying. A nurse at my church got it from being stuck with an infected needle.
Methods to map structure and function of DNA eventually brought about the human genome project. We are still seeing the changes from that.
Balloon angioplasty is developed. That has kept lots of people alive.
First fish cloned. That leads to other cloning and may, still, change the world as we know it.
Ronald Reagan was elected president. In my mind the attempt on his life was not world-changing. It was horrific and made at least one afternoon nap in the dorm nightmarish. But what really changed the world was his election, re-election, and his politics.
And some things we thought would change the world but didn’t.
Three Mile Island. When I talk about this in school, none of my college kids have ever heard of it, unless they were alive at the time.
Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel. Like that worked.
Air controllers strike. Government dismisses strike. I knew people involved in this. It changed their world. But it didn’t change the world.
Israel invades Lebanon over the PLO. That just keeps happening.
Jim Jones’ followers drink the flavored koolaid. That didn’t stop lots of crazy people from killing themselves. It didn’t kill koolaid. It has, however, brought a new idiom into English. That’s language-changing at least.
“We all thought we’d change the world with our great hopes and deeds. Or maybe we just thought the world would change to fit our needs…”
It doesn’t. And it won’t. The things we think are life changing often end up being like a dud firecracker. Spit, spit, nothing.