I was a junior in high school for the first half of 1968; worked at a marine field lab during the summer, and was a senior for the last quarter of that year. It was a momentous year – one that changed America and me. 

In 1968:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated.
  • Massive riots and civil unrest erupted in most major US cities; curfews were imposed, thousands were arrested, many died, whole sections of cities burnt to the ground, Federal troops were called in. 
  • My drafting teacher came to school in his army fatigues.
  • Thomas Merton, Helen Keller, John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, and Karl Barth died.
  • The Prague Spring was brutally crushed by the USSR.
  • Two sanitation workers in Memphis were crushed to death taking refuge in the back of a trash truck during a storm because they were not allowed inside the building with white men. 
  • Kids my age were slaughtered during the Tet Offensive n Vietnam.  
  • North Korea captured the USS Pueblo and her crew.
  • In My Lai, US soldiers massacred women and children.
  • Civil rights marches and worker strikes took place around the country. 
  • Riots triggered by police brutality disrupted the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
  • The Black Panther Party provided food, healthcare and education to impoverished neighborhoods. 
  • Second wave feminism was born. 
  • Black athletes protested with raised fists on the Olympic podium.
  • College campuses all over the world erupted in anti-war protests.
  • In Oakland, CA, the police murdered 17 year-old Bobby Hutton, a Black Panther sympathizer.
  • The National Guard murdered three student protestors on the campus in South Carolina.
  • The Catonsville (Maryland) Nine, including the Berrigan priest brothers, were arrested for protesting the war in Vietnam. 
  • An explosion in a West Virginia coalmine killed 78 miners. 
  • Hippies sought universal peace through mind-expanding drugs.
  • Nixon was elected president. Segregationist George Wallace won 5 states. 
  • Sly and the family Stone danced to the music.
  • Bob Dylan stayed home with his wife and three children.

1968 was the beginning of my journey from agnosticism to Anabaptist Christian. 

1968 left me with a profound sense of the immorality of war and racism and a deep passion for justice. 

In 1968, I volunteered to tutor inner city kids. One had part of his ear missing. Rats chewed it off. Another was learning disabled. She had been so hungry as an infant, she had eaten lead-based paint chips from the windowsill.

In 1968, I volunteered to coach a little league team of boys from the projects. The league was run by Mary Dobkin, a bilateral leg amputee, abandoned at birth, who lived on welfare in the projects with those she served.

The year before, Jesus found me, alone, sacred, confused, and broken. He called my “Little One” and told me he loved me. 

My life since then has had one primary purpose: to share Jesus’ love with hurting people.

About Dr. Larry Taylor

Radical Anabaptist, Jesus Freak, Red Letter Christian, sailor, thinker, spiritual director, life coach, pastor, teacher, chaplain, counselor, writer, husband, father, grandfather, dog-sitter

Posted on December 24, 2020, in anabaptist, Christianity, Jesus, Justice, Kingdom Life, kingdom of God, Life Coaching, Peace Shalom Hesed, social justice, Spiritual Direction, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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