“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness…”
— Beat poet Allen Ginsburg, from Howl.
The Beats were supposed to be so cool, man, cool. If you call decadent, perverted sex, drugs and bizarre, destructive behavior and a nihilistic attitude of life cool. Wonder what your meaning of “is” is?
In an interview, Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul and Mary 60’s folk singers fame, was asked if she identified with the beatniks. Mary answered an unequivocal “no”, and explained that the beatniks don’t bathe, don’t work, etc. The one thing she said she had in common with the Beatniks, however, is that she’s a rebel, speaking out against things she thinks need changing.
The Beatniks morphed into the Hippies, largely disciples of Allen Ginsburg. And the Hippies further devolved into yuppies.
Hope and change aren’t always complimentary.
Fast forward to Woodstock, a bastion of decadence, a prelude to the cults and the me generation of the 70s.
And along came Jones. Long tale Jones. Slick talking Jones, false preaching Jones. Along came Kool-aid pushing Jim Jones.
In a documentary of Jim Jones and Jonestown, Guyana, Jonestown survivors related how they became disillusioned with Jonestown and lamented their dehumanizing degradation and the loss of privacy and freedom in a police state. One survivor, in retrospect, wondered why he and others didn’t act a red flag they should have seen early on.
Before the tragic grand finale at Jonestown in 1978, Jim Jones did a dry run for the poison Kool-aid episode. He had members of his flock (whom survivors said he fleeced) drink the Kool-aid, telling them they will die. Jones very well may have been mimicking the Bible story where God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, only at the last minute to stop the sacrifice in order to test Abraham’s obedience.
Jim Jones thought he was God.
People were taken in by Jones’ welcome grin. Guyana, which, according to the documentary on CNN, was a socialist state in 1972, welcomed Jones, a comrade in arms, a fellow traveler.
Jones and his henchmen preyed on the weak and needy in society, including a homeless person who was picked up in California and lured to the utopian promise of hope and change of Jonestown, Guyana.
When people don’t have solid values, then anything is possible. Jonestown Guyana is a perfect example. If people don’t follow the true, unadulterated Word of God, and practice it, destruction isn’t far behind.
During the Reformation, Martin Luther started a practice where anyone, from any walk of life can challenge the clergy on the truth of scripture, and one another.
Jesus is the solid rock on which I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.
In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, the allegory of the soul, “Evangelist” points up, directly to God.
The Romantics in the 18th century, as a college professor told my class, were the forerunners of the flower children. They believed that the love of nature leads to the love of man. Wrong! For the Christian, the love of God leads to the love of our fellow humans.
I went to a conference the spring before last where the theme was “Reflecting God”. A analogy was made to the moon. The moon has no light of its own but gets it from the sun. Likewise, we reflect God’s love; we have no goodness apart from him.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” — 2 Corinthians 5:20
The ultimate hope for the homeless community and our nation is God. Dig, man?