Tragic Victory

Tragic Victory

Friday, March 29, 2002
| Luke 23:33-43

Generations can be shaped by a defining moment -- 12/7, or 9/11 for example. Have we allowed ourselves to be shaped by Good Friday, a tragic death that became a transforming victory?

Jesus died. It was a small event. Just another execution, a diversion for the people, entertainment for an afternoon.

He died and nothing changed. It was a minute victory for Roman rulers -- one suspected revolutionary was dead. It was a small victory for the religious establishment -- one dicey leader died. It was a sizable tragedy for his followers.

At the time, his death was barely a blip, quite forgettable, quite unremarkable, quite unexceptional. Certainly not what sociologists might describe as a generational defining moment.

Carl Manheim, one such sociologist, argues that generations can be shaped by a singular event that becomes the ruling metaphor for their approach to life. "Depression era children grew up wary of being wasteful," he says. "The baby boomers came of age in a time of great prosperity, but also great uncertainty in witnessing the assassinations of Martin Luther King and JFK and the Vietnam war. By contrast, Generation X, roughly those between 29 and 40 years of...

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