I have to make a confession that I have become intrigued with a new series called Mad Men that depicts the drama that happens in an advertising agency during the mid-60’s. The drama appeals to both my creative bent and love for history. There are a number of references to some of the products that I grew up watching on commercials. It’s extremely nostalgic to view this marketing firm’s creative process as it comes up with the first taglines and promos for everything from Honda motorcycle to Volkswagon beetles to Samsonite luggage to Lucky Strike cigarettes to Dove soap. It is intriguing to watch them attempt to connect products with the concerns and interests of the men and women during the era when my parents were adults.
But the creative process of this ad agency is just the backline. The real drama is the human and family struggles that were happening as a generation wrestled with unique issues that were so dramatic in the 60’s. From the assassination of Kennedy to Martin Luther King Jr. to the Vietnam War, our country was going through a metamorphosis. Some of the most impacting movements in our lifetime were being born, and they were all somehow connected to this issue of respect. Regardless of what you think about politics, whether you have conservative or liberal views, you have to agree that…
…the feminist movement started as a reaction to how men viewed and treated women.
…the civil rights movement was born because an entire race desired to be respected.
In some ways I would say to those of this generation, in comparing it to that generation, that “you’ve come a long way baby.” In other ways, I would say things may be worse. (By the way, where do think the phrase “you’ve come a long way, baby” comes from? The first one to give me the answer gets a free book.)
When you watch Mad Men you realize how much has really changed, and how core the issue of respect has always been to our culture.
Maybe that’s why Jesus responded to people in His culture the way that He did. He challenged the way they looked at each other by showing respect to those around Him.
He confronted the narrow-minded religious system and bigoted attitude of His community by elevating respect for women, children, and many of those who were considered outcasts.
He challenged the masses to have a proper response to those who were in authority. He even encouraged them to support the government by paying their taxes.
He flipped their perspective of other cultures upside down when he told a story about a Samaritan, who actually did something heroic for a Jew. Jesus did a number of things to bridge the racial divides in culture.
What Jesus did to model and teach about respect has the potential to revolutionize every culture, and every family. As you look back across your family or cultural history, what are some of the most important mile-markers that have affected how you view the issue of respect?