Yes, you could call it escapism. TNT just enjoyed the biggest cable television debut of the year with their updated version of Dallas. Who would have thought that the oily Ewing Clan and the Southfork Ranch, vintage 1978, could reclaim their sizzle in 2012? Two weeks ago, The Hatfields & McCoys gave the History Channel a ratings surge and heated up Google’s Search Engine. That feud ended in 1891 but the story is suddenly in cultural currency once again.
The trend is not limited to TV. The biggest movie of the year has been The Avengers, based on a comic strip popular in the 1960’s. The leader of the Avengers, Captain America, operates on the values of the 1940’s. And yesterday, I picked up my Wall Street Journal to learn that in the world of fashion, the bikini is so yesterday. The hottest swim suits of 2012 will feature the one piece look displaying lots of fabric, no navels and little cleavage. I’ve never actually seen an Esther Merman movie, a 1950’s phenom with curvy swimmers and water choreography, but the swim suits in the WSJ called Esther’s name to mind once again.
Speaking of water, tonight a member of the famous Wallenda Family will attempt to walk a cable across the gorge of the Niagara Falls. The event will be televised nationally on ABC. You can’t get much more old school than tight rope walking.
There’s no doubt we Americans still love high tech toys. We are addicted to our smart phones. We fixate on our giant screen HD-TV’s, and we are learning to love our I-Pads and Kindles. Isn’t it ironic that we are using them to escape to an age when the highest technology was named Sputnik and when Bozo the Clown was a popular TV show? We could count on Flash Gordon to save the planet. We could trust Lucy and Desi to give us a laugh with the children without being embarrassed. And a trip to the beach took us to a distant shore where even the sexiest swimwear left something to the imagination.
As Americans welcome the Summer of 2012, we have created a world with big questions and very little certainty. Our leaders are shrinking along with our personal wealth. Life feels like a very hot day from 1955 when you’re still holding an old fashioned cherry bomb, and you’ve lit the fuse, but you haven’t tossed it away yet. You can’t hold that thing one more second! And it no longer feels like we’re all in this together. We’re all watching different channels on our I-Phones. We’re listening to different stations on our ear buds. Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?
I’m glad God is not finished with America yet. And I don’t think America is done with the Gospel either, no matter what the pollsters say. Sure, we can take comfort in this new wave of nostalgia, but we always wake up the next morning to the mess we’ve made in 2012. Suddenly, the grace of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ look really good, don’t they? Maybe better than ever!
Lift up the Cross!