From Gershwin to Gaga

 
We are a nation attempting to dissolve itself.  Our poets write of Turkey and Mexico, and drizzle the names of obscure European philosophers through narcissistic nonsense.   Our artists paint nothing.  Those who aren’t artists pretend to be – hang two chairs on the wall, place two cinderblocks on the floor and label the jumble esoterically, enlightening no one.  (That's not a virtual example; my sculpture instructor in college was very proud of just such a piece.  He called it "Marriage for Two.") Our musicians abuse their instruments, de-reeding their saxophones and shouting obscenities into the naked necks (I saw that happen too -- at a dance concert where the dancers cavorted through a pile of dirt and took their clothes off.)   Our drama must have plunder and propaganda and offensive language, often no language at all, just explosions and body parts and sex.  

We are a nation in love with the false dream of security – and we want it without having to bother with integrity.  We want prosperity without work, success without risk, fun without consequences.  We want to obey only the rules we find easy to follow. Which leaves us mindlessly voting liberal, believing everything -- or nothing.  It's too hard to take a reasoned, moral stand -- so hard that we find ourselves hating those who do.

All this unwound from a culture sure of its purpose, sure of its God.  All this from a people so grand they could imagine a civilization though there was nothing but forest and scattered tribes aimlessly scratching existence from the rocky coastline.  Cities beautiful and towering, farms productive and orderly, roads to everywhere, planes overhead, trains across the prairie vastness.

Jazz and baseball and Rockwell and Frost.  Fried chicken and tractors and Hiawatha and quarterbacks.   Barbecue and victory gardens and Microsoft and tap dancers.  Huck Finn and fly fishing and Levis and convertibles.  Speed and open spaces and wind and mountains,  Elvis and Gershwin and Hopper and Wright.  Wilder, ah Wilder, and Sandburg and Ford.   All rusting in a continuous drizzle of acidic sophistication, of fashionable hatred, envy, and monstrous wallowing guilt.  Jonathan Edwards to Jeremiah Wright.  Abe Lincoln to Barack Obama.  Will Rogers to Al Franken. 

The thread is still there, the heartbeat thin, but steady.  Can we werite another hymn, return to face our God, and walk on into the destiny we could have? With God all things are possible.  Let us pray.  Let us learn about Him again.