The spiritual dimension has come more clearly into focus.

Remember 1970? Regular-grade gasoline was going for about 34.9 cents a gallon, and gold was priced officially at $35 an ounce. A scant decade later, we are paying 300 percent more for gasoline that we must pump ourselves, and an ounce of gold is being traded for nearly 1300 percent more. Add to these headaches the continuing crises in morality, authority, and world order. It appears certain that we face bleaker times and stiffer challenges.

Yet we should guard against gloom-and-doom pessimism. There were some surprises in the past decade: not everything turned out as badly as might have been expected. For example, when on Yom Kippur in 1973, Syria and Egypt—supported by Soviet airlifts—attacked Israel, some thought Armageddon seemed imminent. Instead, later on came Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977, President Carter’s mediation, the prayer-punctuated Camp David meetings, and peace between Israel and Egypt.

China, seemingly a hopeless ideological recluse among the major nations, opened its door a crack in 1971, Richard Nixon pushed it open wider the following year, and eventually, in 1979, full diplomatic recognition was given by the U.S. China’s door may also be open to some new spiritual approaches from Christians.

These were just two of many surprising developments in the last decade. To help us put the 1980s in some perspective, it is instructive to recall a few of the major events of the 1970s. The decade began with the United States still at war in Vietnam, but hordes of our young people were protesting and burning American flags in the streets. Huge numbers of young people were involved in radical-left politics, free sex, dope, and other pits; an ...

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