The Gospel According to the 80’s

So I am thinking through a series in a few months for the Young Adults at our church. We seem to be enamored with nostalgia of the 80‘s and this will also give people a chance to dress up goofy. But as you can see from the title this is not a topic that is very black and white.

And that’s where you come in.

I’m assuming that most people who read this blog have at least a passing acquaintance with the 80’s. And I’m wondering was there a specific event/song/movie that really helped to shape you?

Was there a event/song/movie that helped to shape how you think and relate to God or to other people?

I know this seems pretty open ended, but I don’t want to hamper anyone’s creativity by giving my ideas. I’ll weigh in, and maybe blog about a few that I am thinking later, but first I want to hear what you have to say. So…Madonna, power ballads, Ronald Reagan, the Challenger and Clyde Drexler are all on the table. So what do you think? If you were teaching on finding Jesus in the 80’s what would you say?

This should be fun.

9 thoughts on “The Gospel According to the 80’s

  1. Wow. I could think of a lot of things, but here are a few that come to mind…
    Ronald Reagan – Agree or disagree with his politics, I believe that Reagan was a man whose faith shaped his politics more than many people realize. If you read some of the letters he wrote that were published you can learn a lot. (I discovered that Reagan has Restoration Movement roots.)
    “Tear Down This Wall.” – While there is no perfect government (see 1 Samuel 8), Reagan word’s have Kingdom implications. We all have walls that need to come down.
    The fall of the Berlin Wall – proof that walls can come down.
    LiveAis – This was likely one of the events that lead to the increased awareness of social justice we see today.
    The Vietnam Memorial opens – There is something healthy about acknowledging our defeats as much as we do our victories.
    Minorities gain ground:
    -Sandra Day O’Conner – First Female US Supreme Court Justice
    -Sally Ride – First Woman in space
    -Geraldine Ferraro – First female VP candidate of a major political party
    -Vanessa Williams – First African-American Miss America
    -Martin Luther King Jr Day become a national holiday
    -Benazir Blutto – First woman to head an Islamic state

  2. First thing that just came to mind was “The Goonies” & 1st Cor. 12 and Romans 12. Each one of those guys had a giftedness that enhanced the whole. If just ONE of those kinds had let themselves get discouraged & give up just a little bit, they wouldn’t have accomplished what they did. It’s the same in the church – if just ONE of us begins to think that we’re insignificant or unimportant & give up on the church a little, then everyone loses in the end.

  3. *Goonies
    *Bad Boys (back to back NBA Championships)
    *Footloose (I got in trouble for watching this when my parents forbade me)
    *Berlin Wall
    *Michael Jackson (king of pop)
    *Cabbage Patch Dolls
    *Gummy Bears (cartoon not the food)
    *G.I. Joe
    *ESPN Sportscenter came into it’s own
    *Celtics/Lakers (Bird and Magic)
    *Challenger Crash of 1986

    The biggest one for me…. The Ryan White Story (first American youth documented with H.I.V. via blood transfusion…his story messed me up).

  4. It’s about time Billy Joel updated his song anyway…

    (to the tune of “we didn’t start the fire”)
    Breakfast Club; Top Gun; Carl Lewis on the run;
    Gorbacev; Berlin Wall; Chicago Cub night-ball

    Just say no; Axel F; Rubik’s Cube; Carter left;
    Cabbage Patch; Big Hair; We are the world; Tianamen Square;

    Chorus…(Something like..”We didn’t start the 90’s…”)

    Moon Walk; Acid Walk; Mall rats; Arcade Games;
    Trapper Keeper; Members Only; Parachute Pants;

    Challenger O-ring; America hosts olympic games;
    Around the world in just one flight; Rocky wants one more fight;

    More chorus…

    Oil Spill; Disco’s Dead; Van Halen, Mr. T’s Head;
    Ethiopia needs food, Boy George is a dude

    and again…

    Hacky Sack, Reagan shot, Chernobyl gets real hot
    Bill Cosby, Ocean Pacific, Joe Montana is Terrific

    Pac-Man, Vans Shoes, Falkland Islands in the news,
    Farm-Aid, Live Aid, Theisman needs a band-aid

    Chorus Last time…

    Sorry 🙂 I just couldn’t help myself 🙂

    To answer your question; sadly, during the eighties, the absolute most influential and memorable part of my life, I was not a Christian, that happened in 1992 when I was 19, influenced in large part by the gift of a bible for my HS graduation from my grandfather. So I don’t have much of a Christian perspective on the 80’s. Nevertheless, hope the cultural references help.


  5. I don’t remember much of the 80’s. I do remember that the North Dallas suburbs mostly missed out on the advent of hip-hop, which I consider to be one of the few honorable legacies of the decade. I remember the initial hysteria of Michael Jackson which soon ended in bitter disappointment. Other I recall the 80’s with a mixed sense of apathy and antipathy.

    The event that really shaped me, which I really view as a point of salvation, was the 90’s. We got the awesome opportunity to trade:

    hair metal for grunge and gantsta rap (to the total abhorrence of parents everywhere).
    -communists for terrorists
    -Republicans for Democrats
    -tithe jeans for thefts friendly JNCO’s
    -the recession for economic growth
    -cassette tapes for CD’s
    -cars produced in the 80’s for anything for anything but cars produced in the 80’s
    -boring wars for Grenada and Nicaragua for awesome ones in Iraq, Bosnia, and many other localities our media never informed us of
    -the thread of nuclear war for a slightly decreased threat of nuclear war
    -Saved by the Bell for anything MTV was producing to offend my parents

    Seriously, I see kids at the mall now in all their trendy retro-80’s regalia, and eagerly look forward to a time (a few months from now, surely) when the 8–‘s will go out of fashion a second times and I can retrieve my Adidas sweats from storage and pull out all my rap-rock CD’s. The most shaping event of the 80’s, for me, was their end.

    bwa hahaha..the devil’s advocate strikes again!

  6. I guess for me it’s hard to say what was the most influential about 80’s themselves, when really it’s more about being a child of the 80’s. The generation who was raising us during that time. The 80’s was people letting loose and not caring about what was proper or right or moral (foot loose) It was a generation being shaped by people who felt that their parents never let them express themselves. SO now that’s all we do, is express ourselves. And we do it in ways that offend people, like vulgarity, language, and all sorts of other things. Not that expressing yourself in and of itself is bad, but letting a woman walk around in her bra and panties and talk about being touched for the first time, I think breaks all sorts of moral codes and yet, we all know the words to the song. We aren’t phased by it, it doesn’t bother us the way it should.

    I guess for me the 80’s was the biggest time period where I was de-sensitized by my surroundings and what I watched, heard, and dressed. So I hope that helps!

  7. Thanks people, good stuff so far. I’ll pick out some I really liked…

    Jason, the Berlin wall is a great metaphor. Also I liked that we gave MLK a day (2 decades later, you the prophets…)

    Philip, that’s a sermon all it’s own. We could call it “Hey you guys”

    Josh, I am totally going to use the Ryan White story. Thanks for the reminder on that.

    Blake, did you write that/ If so that’s was amazing! We seriously need to use that.

    Joe, yeah you did. Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll use your stuff to talk about the crappy side of the 80’s. I liked your traded in cars made in the 80’s for anything but cars made in the 80’s

    Haley, thanks. Every culture has it’s morally changing time and the 80’s were certainly the start of ours. The Sexual revolution of the late 70’s and early 80’s affected every other part of our culture.

    Thanks and keep it coming y’all.

  8. My most powerful memories from the 80’s would have to include:

    Jaws-which started a lifelong shark obseesion.
    Friendship bracelets-
    Mullets- yes as a 9 yr old I had one.
    Tight rolling jeans
    The Fab Five (ok that was early 90’s, but it was close)
    Hulk Hogan

    Good luck using that in a sermon.

  9. Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure. Not only is it still my favorite movie of all time, but there are a lot of cool things you can pull from that.

    -History is full of excellent adventures
    -The importance of sharing your adventures with your friends
    -How would people of the past view us today?
    -Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife
    -Be excellent to each other

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