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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

       Friday, October 1 2004 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

'Sixties awakenings

Wednesday's exercise in "Dredging up the past" was part of the motivation for revisiting the 1960s today. The other and more salient motivator was my current reading, The Sixties Spiritual Awakening: American Religion Moving from Modern to Postmodern by Robert S. Ellwood. The book was discovered in a used bookstore by my friend Mike (whom I've written about before here, most notably when we did a bookstore tour to Berkeley some months back). He thought it would appeal to me and indeed it does.

Though the author is a Protestant liberal (an Episcopalian who thinks the '60s "Death of God" and secular theology movements were too quickly overtaken by other events) whose take on the whole decade is almost upside down my own, it still recounts in much detail many movements, events, personalities, books, and magazines (especially Time and Newsweek editions that seemed to capture and freeze the times occasionally) that bring back many flashbacks.

I graduated from Blacklick Township High School in 1960, spent the next four years at Johnstown College (as today's UPJ was then called) and the Oakland campus of Pitt while also working part-time for the Acme Market in Parkhill and from 1962 to 1964 as fulltime editor of the Nanty Glo Journal. At the beginning of summer in '64 I accepted an offer to become managing editor of the Christian Beacon in Collingswood, NJ, and immediately began summer courses at a divinity school in Philadelphia. I had, already while at Pitt, become active in International Christian Youth, whose main office was in the same building as the Christian Beacon, and I was shortly afterward elected to its board.

The Christian Beacon was a weekly newspaper with a worldwide circulation of about 30,000 when I joined it, which quickly jumped to over 100,000. I had the opportunity to make my first overseas travel through its sponsorship, and through the job I was on top of most of the currents in the fields of religion, politics, and popular culture, and writing on them regularly. One of my new best friends, Larry Miller, was invited to a Congressional committee to give expert testimony on the nationwide campaign to return Bible reading and prayer to public schools (in support of a proposed Constitutional Amendment that never got passed), and I was able to tag along as his "counsel," someone who could look up and whisper in his ear needed facts and figures for the cross-examining Congressmen.

When the "hippy movement" broke out, I was encouraged by a spectrum of acquaintances to write about it, and I was introduced to bonafide "hippies" in Maryland, Philadelphia, and New York City, writing about the topic that was being featured in most general-interest magazines and newspaper feature sections. My articles appeared in the Christian Beacon and in a series of ICY tracts. I soon after became chairman of International Christian Youth and then set out on my first national tour, interviewing, photographing, and researching hippies, looking into the drug culture and the anti-war movement, and many of the other topics Robert S. Ellwood takes up in The Sixties Spiritual Awakening. The result of that tour was my first book, The Youth Revolution, published by ICY in 1968.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 


Apparently, one in five people in the world are Chinese. And there are five people in my family, so one of them must be Chinese. It's either my mom or my dad, or maybe my older brother Colin or my younger brother Ho-Cha-Chu. But I'm pretty sure it's Colin.

Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz  

Thought for today

When God ordains, He sustains.

Sent by Trudy Myers  

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