"old school" U.S.A.

in New York Times opinion piece, "High Five Nation," David Brooks weighs in on the U.S. then and now. specifically, he writes of the attitudes and sentiments following victory in WWII. it was a moment of humility, of awe, and, as war correspondent Ernie Pyle expressed, "I hope that in victory we are more grateful than we are proud."

why don't we hear more of that today? have we lost our sense of gratitude and thankfulness for life and all its little joys? have we lost the sense of privilege and gift that is each new day? instead, we complain about the little things. instead, I complain about the little things that bug me, annoy me, and that need to be fixed or else. or else what? or else i'll shrink away in self-loathing and self-pity...

from the article:

But that humility came under attack in the ensuing decades. Self-effacement became identified with conformity and self-repression. A different ethos came to the fore, which the sociologists call “expressive individualism.” Instead of being humble before God and history, moral salvation could be found through intimate contact with oneself and by exposing the beauty, the power and the divinity within.

Everything that starts out as a cultural revolution ends up as capitalist routine. Before long, self-exposure and self-love became ways to win shares in the competition for attention. Muhammad Ali would tell all cameras that he was the greatest of all time. Norman Mailer wrote a book called “Advertisements for Myself.”

Brooks ends the article with a line that caught my attention and continues to scream out to me:

It’s funny how the nation’s mood was at its most humble when its actual achievements were at their most extraordinary.
what about us? as followers of Christ, are we humble? are we willing to celebrate adversity and an opportunity to grow? are we pursuing Christ's vision and Christ's Kingdom goals, or are we after wealth, fame, and self-grandeur?

i ask these questions as a fellow traveler. i ask these questions as a 21st Century American Christian struggling to find the answers and make some sense of it all...

join me on the journey!

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