Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Morning Thanks--deus ex machina

duale US

Frank Bruni's column in the New York Times yesterday is perfectly frightening. In it, he marshalls out poll data and survey results that in his estimation establish that this country has, in no uncertain terms, lost faith--in government, it the future, in itself, in anything.
Americans are apprehensive about where they are and even more so about where they’re going. But they don’t see anything or anyone to lead them into the light. They’re sour on the president, on the Democratic Party and on Republicans most of all. They’re hungry for hope but don’t spot it on the menu. Where that tension leaves us is anybody’s guess.
He cites, for instance, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that came out amid the Ferguson story and the madness created by ISIS or ISIL or whatever the name is, a poll that got jammed to the bottom of the grocery bag. Listen to this: 76% of the American public feel that the country holds less promise for them than it did for their parents. In other words, three-quarters of all Americans, regardless of age, believe the American Dream simply no longer exists.

It may well be that those most sure of America's promise are it's illegal immigrants, who certainly have not lost faith. The rest of aren't sure at all. It's not hard to walk that statistic back and ask a more fundamental questions--if America doesn't dream, is it America? And it if America isn't America, what is it? Who are we?

Bruni isn't the first to point out the irony in our deep hatred for Congress--only seven percent of Americans feel what happens in that branch of government is of any palpable worth. Yet, 9 out of 10 representatives and senators consistently win re-election, time after time after time. Is that crazy or what?

“'People are mad at Democrats,'” John Hickenlooper, the Democratic governor of Colorado, told me," Bruni writes. “But they’re certainly not happy with Republicans. They’re mad at everything.” And yet, almost shockingly, the unemployment rate in Colorado is waaaaay down, 5.3 percent.

Go figure. There's something really wrong here. The stock market is going gangbusters, the economy is healthy and prime, but America seems to have resigned from something called faith. A full sixty percent of us believe this nation is in decline.

This morning's headlines somehow follow, don't you think?  The New York Times runs a front page story about a man named after one of America's WWII heroes: Douglas McArthur McCain was killed this week in Syria, while fighting for ISIS or ISIL, who make Al Qaeda look like cub scouts. He carried an American passport, grew up a suburb of Minneapolis named New Hope (I'm serious), was known as a joker and a rapper and a big-time basketball fan.  That's him up top.

But he never finished high school, and during his early adulthood, found his way onto the police blotter with ease and frequency. Eventually he "reverted" (his word) to Islam, where he found the Lord (that's an evangelical phrase, but it may well be helpful for us to think in those terms). “Allah keeps me going day and night," he wrote on line. "Without Allah, I am no one.” And this: "The Koran is all I need in this life of sin."

He went to San Diego, lived there for a time, visited Canada and Sweden and then left for Syria, where somehow he joined up with the most heinous of Islamic militants and last week was killed with two other ISIS members when they ambushed a rebel Syrian army unit--in other words, a band of fighters who might well have been fighting the same enemy. D
oes that make any sense at all? 

The terror of Bruni's essay is that we don't believe in anything anymore. Anything. 

Oddly enough Douglas McArthur McCain appears to have agreed. That's why he went to Syria. He wanted so badly to believe.

I told myself that this week the blog was going to return to thanksgiving, to finding something everyday for which to be thankful. Garrison Keillor wasn't wrong--if all of us would give thanks for something every day, this world would be a better place. I've been doing that--off and on--for almost ten years. 

But this morning, Bruni in my head, McCain in my soul, it was a real chore. 

But just now I stepped outside my door into this revelation to the east--deus ex machina.


This morning, after thoughts of death and unbelief, I'm thankful for the divine landscape on a heavenly canvas just outside my door. 

Sometimes the heavens preach, David said, sometimes the heavens declare.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

zeal-great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.

synonyms:passion, ardor, love, fervor, fire, avidity, devotion, enthusiasm, eagerness, keenness, appetite, relish, gusto, vigor, energy, intensity; fanaticism-Dictionary

Zeal can be a good thing if is based on knowledge. God's knowledge. The Apostle Paul was zealous before his conversion. He was a Christian killer [terrorist of sorts]. After his conversion he continued to be zealous... preaching Christ crucified.

Young people are hungry to be zealous for God, BUT their zealousness must be based on knowledge. Romans 10:2.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the sunrise in your backyard made me sing " Glory, Glory Alleluia his truth goes marching on".
What's the disconnect with youth becoming raging terrorists, thousands of miles away in a world that preaches hatred of mankind just because we pray differently to God.

Anonymous said...

You start with the lack of hope. I'm convinced optimism can be contagious, so can pessimism. One of the issues is our President, when he talks about America he talks about its problems over and over. I want to hear a president talk about the good, the good people, the heroic acts, and a bright future. Not the problems over and over

Anonymous said...

"This morning's headlines somehow follow, don't you think?" No.
1) Most people don't think the American Dream is attainable any longer. 2) One TRAITOR American turns into a terrorist. What is the connection? There is none. This disgusting person is not a victim of the diminishing American Dream! Wow!