We Want the Dramatic and Spectacular

I’m going to take you on a strange journey today. But it will fit.

Detective novels are my recreational reading. Have been most of my life. During my high school years I discovered the Perry Mason series by Earl Stanley Gardner. Through the magic of Kindle, I’ve been reading through them again a few at a time when I want to focus on “whodunit” rather than all the thinking I do for work.

Wow, has the world changed since Gardner first wrote about the attorney/detective in the 1930s. The phrases he used that were common back then had pretty much dropped out by the 60s when he wrote his later works. Reading them today is a trip back to an entirely different era. The stereotypes of people with dark skin, or Asian people, or women–they are all in the past. Or maybe not checking last week’s news.

Recently, I ran across this quote from 1935 that is so current it could have been written yesterday. See if it fits you and the people around you. It refers to Americans, but I think too many people from other cultures have been adopting these American values.

We’re a dramatic people. We’re not like the English. The English want dignity and order. We want the dramatic and spectacular. It’s a national craving. We’re geared to a rapid rate of thought. We want to have things move in a spectacular manner.

Doesn’t that fit TV news today? Or even for the past 40 years?

We go to church–we want the dramatic and spectacular.

The hard work of spiritual formation through the practice of the disciplines–meditation, prayer, study, worship, service–those are for other people at another time.

Or, are they?

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