Tag Archives: worldview

American Exceptionalism and the Roots of the Approaching American Revolution


cbgetsit2

I have updated and revised this post inspired by the “pro-choice” people who, in NY and VA, now extend their choice to the murder of living babies as they exit the womb. Back in the 60s, Francis Schaeffer forewarned Americans that the slippery slope of abortion on demand would lead to both infanticide and geronticide. Pro-choice advocates laughed at him and dismissed him.

Unfortunately, Linus can’t have a real conversation with Lucy. It’s practically impossible. There is no firm, reasonable starting place because Lucy will not admit the inconsistencies in her thinking. Her worldview, based on emotion, cannot allow for reasonable honesty. So rather than laugh at her inconsistency and be willing to reevaluate and alter her view, Lucy has to bully, name-call, and shame her friend. Bully’s want control. They intend to deprive others of their liberty and crush their rights.

BOTH extremes–Right and Left in our country–operate this way.

This is not about Democrat vs. Republican–although Bully’s exist in both parties. This is about liberty versus slavery and it has been going on for thousands of years. This is about Unity versus disunity. Polarization begins with those who depart from the foundations of what made us great and United. Only one thing kept the United States from going the way of every other nation-state or Empire in history.

American Exceptionalism Rooted in Christ

Backdrop is WWII. The totalitarian socialists knows as the National Sozialistiche Deutsche Arbeitpartei (National Socialist German Party–NAZI party for short), had invaded Europe. Their storm troopers crushed and were rounding up and killing their enemies, which included political enemies, Jews, and the Christians who helped rescue both. Dr. E. Stanley Jones, noted missionary and theologian-statesman serving in India at the time said this regarding our UNITED STATES and American freedom:

What a Christ this is! taking the energies and pioneering spirit of a people gathered from all climes and all races, and in spite of all their sins and prejudices welding them into a living whole until they become perhaps the most united nation on earth, and perhaps the greatest.

Christ has done this? Yes, for without his Spirit working in the hearts of this American Civilization–cleansing, inspiring, uniting,–this civilization would not have been possible. He is the cement that holds it together. Through its centrifugal forces and its dividing sins it would fall to pieces tomorrow without him. He is the most cleansing, constructive, potent force working within the soul of this people–and its one hope.**

Given the contemporary hatred of Christ and his family in our American civilization today. Given the polarization of those who love liberty and those who want power to force their Christless worldview upon the people. What is the future of our union?

My hope is that God will heal our nation on behalf of our forefathers and their sacrifice–that Lucy & Linus will get tired of the polarization that separates them and find ways to listen to one another. My fear is that it’s too late. Lucy likes bullying and controlling Linus. And Linus won’t give up his freedom to her control. Thus, unless the nation repents, we, our children and our grand-children will experience a revolution unlike any in previous history as political parties polarize, our unity unravels, and our economy implodes. The revolution will center around religion, because Christ and Yahweh are the ONLY source of Freedom and unity.

The only way out is a return to what made us great–honoring Christ and loving God and people made in His image. Can it be that simple? Oh, yes!

I pray that I’m wrong about the Revolution, because I’m absolutely right about the root and the deterrent.

 

QUESTION: What do you think?

**quote from E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the American Road, Cokesbury Press, 1944, p. 15.

Peanuts dialog (c)2013, Dixon Diaz; except “Peanuts” characters are (c) United Features Syndicate

Atticus: A Review


Hansen, Ron. Atticus: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. 247 pages.

Ron Hansen 1947—

Just when we thought that we would not see any more great American novels, Ron Hansen has given us, not only Mariette in Ecstasy but, far more to my liking, Atticus.  Hansen has created a “sundog” with this fine novel.

Hansen paints his characters with words as the lead character, Scott Cody, paints with brush and canvas. Impressions. He daubs his canvas with an attitude, a gesture, a scene that smells, tastes, feels, sounds like life itself. From the moment Atticus sees his first Parhelion, at age sixty, foreshadowing identity issues; until his mysterious encounters in Mexico, we sense that we are there with him in all his pain and sorrow. We watch him and want to help him understand Scott. But we find that impossible. Atticus lives from his Weltanschauung (worldview) and Scott is held prisoner to his own.

The characters that orbit Atticus and Scott come alive and draw our suspicion. We’ve all known Scott, Renata, Stuart, and Reinhardt, even Carmen and Renaldo, yet they are not caricatures. Soon we do not realize we are reading anymore, but we are there, in steamy Resurreccion. The narrative catches us up and carries us along into places we have been and never want to be again. We know that something is wrong, but do not know what. We sense something amiss. Hansen planted clues all along the way. We are not only feeling that we are witnesses, we are.

We know that somehow Atticus and Scott’s relationship is bigger than the sum of its parts. Atticus, the compassionate father, will not let the apparent tragedy rest. Scott’s home is Resurreccion. Atticus must leave the U.S. Surely life can come from death. Just as the phoenix rises, new beginnings can rise from the ashes of hopelessness. Perhaps the natural, mirrors the supernatural: multiple sundogs here for him who has eyes to see, ears to hear. Twin suns in the sky. Scott and Reinhardt. The Codys and the prodigal and his father.

This brings us to the point of the experience. We come to the story within a fine story–Shakespeare’s play within the play. Atticus’s story. Scott’s story within the greater context of all that has brought Atticus to Resurreccion. Merely because the story is there to tell? Or has the author created a divine appointment for his reader? We’re afloat in a paranormal sense of proximity and place very close to divine grace.

Planned or no, the reader is faced with questions of life and death, identity, offense, and forgiveness, sin and redemption. Not only for the characters in the novel, but with a skillful use of understatement, the reader is confronted with herself. Yet never a sense of sterile, impersonal preachiness.

Hansen takes the reader on quite a ride but we find the road has twists and turns that sweep us to the grand finale. We find at the end, what J. R. R. Tolkien termed, the eucatastrophe (Greek: “good resolve”)—the redemptive climax that makes the reading investment worthwhile—the exceptional ending, one that uplifts from mists of melancholy, that draws out the best in the human spirit.

After all, Ron Hansen’s writing is much more than the obscene voyeurism of so many contemporary writers. They find it passé to conclude hopefully or with grace. History will forget them, but my guess is that generations to come will study Hansen’s work in Literature class.

NOTE:

1. Atticus was a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award for fiction.

2. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, also written by Ron has been made into a movie and was released in 2007, starring Brad Pitt.

QUESTIONS FOR READING GROUPS:

http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides_A/atticus1.asp

Other works by Ron Hansen are in my “Featured Books” list.

(c) 2004, David C Alves, revised 2011. Updated links.

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