Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Downton Abbey, Mad Men, The Help, Lincoln, and Les Miserable... A Common Thread

Christmas special preview photos

Mad Men Season 1 Episode Photos - Mad Men Season 1 Episode Photos Photo Gallery

Disclaimer:  Some of what I am going to say will seem offensive to some, as they feel strongly about the choices they are making for their family.  I respect the homeschooling community and I respect new expressions of faith.  I just have some questions about the direction it's taking our culture.  I ask myself similar probing questions for choosing public school and and traditional worship setting, especially since the status quo is crumbling right now...

I am afraid we have grown complacent and disconnected in our current times.  We are quite removed from the reality that our country is fighting two wars at once.  We target enemies of the state with remote operated drones and our national conversations are an endless mess of polarization.  We are bearing witness to the fruits of fear based living as those who cannot cope, are acting violently and indiscriminately.  We choose more individualized options for education and faith expression under the tenant that we are providing more authenticity for our value system and allowing deeper connections, yet I am afraid we are only finding deeper connections with people who look like we want to and think the way we do, thus perpetuating the polarization that is tearing us all apart.  

I have long heard that when we don’t understand and remember history, we are doomed to repeat it... and thus the foundation for our need to have period dramas for our entertainment in this time.  I happen to believe that the US is a remarkable experiment in freedom, blemishes and all.  Over the course of our nation’s young lineage, one of the common threads has been that all men/wo-men are created equal.  Period.  Our biases from generation to generation have created unconscious amendments to that fundamental idea, yet there has always been a force calling the unconscious restrictive amendments out into the light is in an almost symbiotic measure.  This consistent tension has ensured that our basic fundamentals are constantly tested and refined.    

And now we are in a time when much progress as been experienced... just enough progress that we are not daily faced with brazen examples of inequality.  Signs of inequality are all around us, yet our current culture is expert at whitewashing and re-branding the harsh realities of this world.  When life was physically more difficult, it was hard to completely deny that being human is painful and difficult.  Wars could not happen in such a removed fashion.  People needed communities for physical survival and so the emotional need to connect and wrestle with differing opinions happened organically.  Now we have a much more leisurely lifestyle, thanks to the industrial revolution and so we have to pay good money to get anything organic... whether it be our food or our community.

Since September 11, 2001 our culture has been in a tailspin...or at least the tailspin we were already in became impossible to deny.  Threat is everywhere and one thing you can always count on is that human nature will be what it is in every age... depraved.  I believe fear is the dominant factor driving our culture right now, and when fear is in the picture, immaturity rears it’s ugly head.  Then we have a huge mess on our hand.  I do not think segregating education for our children is the ultimate answer to produce a resilient next generation.  So because I am middle class and I have the means for private education or the time to provide a home based educational experience for my children, I need to exercise that option to ensure a better future for my children?  What about my gardeners children?  Or the post carriers child?  (Says the woman who has a child in private school right now...gotta to keep it real)  

Because I am exhausted by the rhetoric spewed by the loud and angry voices in the church, I am supposed to do the new hip thing and break off into smaller expressions authentic christian living?  (Says the woman who has no desire to go “deeper”  because of spiritual trauma that is currently being healed for good...grace be.)  What about my neighbors and friends who could care less about the inner squabbling of my particular faith community.  Will doing that really bridge any divides?

I have felt the temptation to throw up my hands... for sure I have.  I volunteer regularly in the public classroom setting and I worked in the church for a decade.  What I have seen and what I have witnessed can sometimes cause much rage for me.  That is why I am thankful for shows like Mad Men and Downton Abbey or movies like Lincoln, The Help, and Les Miserable.  They remind me that my struggles are still an evolution of the issues humanity has faced over the course of time.  Both shows and all of the movies  have a tremendous integrity in their storytelling, from plot to set design and costumes.  They make such effort to stay historically accurate and still use story to press into the social issues of each time.  By using another era’s woes to focus on social injustice, I find it easier to take a hard look at my own life and what is really happening around me.  The artists in a culture seem to always lead the way and pound the drums when change is needed.  Will we wake up to what our most sensitive and creative voices are saying? 

 ...That going back towards a separated culture for any reason, will only bring more suffering.  Equality is the way forward.  Equality for all, with no amendments needed...








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