Sunday, March 13, 2011

From Paul Gregory Alms
  • Intense interest in politics is a symptom of middle age. The young think it is boring. The old have seen it all already. The middle-aged think it matters.
  • The disappointed generation. The one that came of age ‘mid-century’ at America’s zenith. My father, and men like him, were men of faith, shaped by loyalty to company, country, and church. At BF Goodrich, he had parlayed a high-school education into a lifelong career. More than that, the company had given him a purpose. It gave him a mission: to work hard, to succeed, and to be a part of an important common enterprise. Work was more than a job for men like my father. It was tied to ideas of self and citizenship and purpose. Work was a sort of national sacrament. What you “did for a living” was tied up with deep notions that touched religion and identity and citizenship. Your small part in one not very big company was a part of the grand project of the American dream. Jobs were sacred obligations. Beyond the paycheck it produced, a job provided a connection to the noble idea called America that existed concretely in the workplace. My father was equally convinced of the rightness of his church. He was a Lutheran. Not just any Lutheran, he was a “Missouri Synod” Lutheran. The LCMS was a conservative, immigrant church that had always insisted on strictly defending its doctrines and practice. He believed in “the Synod”: in her doctrines, traditions, and history. He believed that they were right. To my father, the LCMS was not just his church but the correct church. The Synod had a mission, and, by extension, so did he: to preserve and extend the LCMS. But if my father and his friends were men of faith, they were also men of disappointment. By the 1970s and 1980s my father watched the objects of his faith dissolve. The basis of his vocational, civic, and spiritual attachments fractured and collapsed.
  • The June 1979 Levittown gas riot. Is this where we’re headed again?
  • From two years ago: where Bruce Springsteen went wrong and what he still gets right.

No comments:

Post a comment

Leave comment