Wednesday, March 29, 2006

STORIES IN THE NEWS

If, as philosophers have surmised, life consists of sturm und drang, here at the beach it seems to me the sturm of life is usually calmly taken along with its drang, but with relatively less urgency and a few grains of salt; recent news stories rarely appear to excite, or even rankle, these laid-back shore dwellers. Personally, however, as important news stories break on our informational shores, which they seem to do with greater frequency now, the less I understand or know, and the less secure I actually am of my position--and the more aroused and upset I can become about it; many of my neighbors must, beneath those cool exteriors, feel quite the same way.

But yesterday’s earth-shaking issues have apparently already become old and familiar; it is as if all their concerns quickly enter a limbo of out-of-date news-flashes, even when Christianity itself comes under fire! I suspect, however, if I should start a rumor that alien body-snatchers, many millennia ahead of us scientifically but incidentally lacking the skill to replace their own bodies are at work in the neighborhood, I could almost guarantee unruly mobs of peasants carrying oaken cudgels, haying-forks, pine-tar torches and sporting surly scowls, all in very short order, (perhaps with me amongst them).

It has occurred to me, however, that I may be only visualizing reactions like those followers of Artemis, “Artemis of the Ephesians,” (Acts:19, 2-41), about whom riots regarding The Way broke out. What confusion, what alarms, violent reactions and urgencies to violence among the roistering crowds around the town square and on into the theater. These were people who had heard or fancied threats to their belief system and to what they saw as the sanctity and financial advantages of their preeminent goddess. How powerful then were the calm directives given by an ordinary city clerk urging legal assembly in place of rioting. Thus, words and reason seemed, momentarily, to stand up for faith in the Word; as in Psalm 46 (10): “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth…The Lord Almighty is with us;”. One is presented there who is slow to anger and abounding in love--in this way the words of Paul finally were recorded in The Word.

But now I can’t decide whether my neighbors know something of which I had lost sight, or whether they just don’t pay much attention to the news.

1 comment:

Doug said...

I think most people don't pay close attention to the news. God, it would seem to me, wants us to be in touch with our culture, passionate about its transformation, and yet strangely unaffected at the same time knowing we were meant for something more. A strange combination to be sure.