At my age, there are more yesterdays than tomorrows left. Even more true in the case of our 300-some year old country, the 2000 year old Vatican, and the 5000 year old Jews. So getting hooked on our past is easy for all four of us.
However…! Hooked is one thing, strangled is quite another. If we take a closer look, isn’t Americanism, Catholicism and Judaism becoming strangled by the all-too-comforting webs of their glorious past?
In the case of the US, we have a band of fiery Tea Partiers who have decided the only America is the one from our frontier-individualism-without-government past….in the Vatican we have a church often so proud of its past, it has become obsessed with the strictest of that past’s rules…..among the Jews, all too many have become obsessed with keeping the flame of the Holocaust alive at the expense of any new torches.
But recently new voices have been raised to beckon the best in their respective futures, even if at the cost of the best of their respective pasts. In America we have the call of the progressives [often derided as Big Government]….in the Vatican we have the pastoral voice of a new Pope [often scaring the traditionalists]….and among the Jews we have new reform movements [urging the faith to do more than weep over the ashes of the concentration camps].
Today’s generations — like all youth — have little patience for cobwebbed history. They prefer bannered heroes, heroes who see new futures that can stand tall on the shoulders of overworked pasts. Chances are, you are either among the yesterday-ists or the tomorrow-ists. Either way, there is much that Americanism, Catholicism and Judaism still have to offer humanity.
It’s time all three come to terms with those prospects. Laurels were meant to be worn, not simply sat on. As for my octogenarian self, I’m trying to work on that,
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