In many respects, Meander With Me Mary is a cool lady. In her nineties, she has taken up blogging. Even Pop, universally acknowledged as 'cool' by twentysomethings, has not done that. That computer he got from me still sits on his desk. Once in a while he turns it on and tries to figure it out using the printed instruction manual. But you don't learn computers that way, so he gets nowhere. Occassionaly he'll show interest in learning it some other way, but then he gets sidetracked by "I got along without it all these years - why do I need it now?" That's how it is with new inventions. The kids embrace them. They soon become indispensable as air. But the old folks say "who needs it?" Mary is an exception.
A fluent writer, possessed of good storytelling and poetry, her blog has found an audience. I like it when a person of her years begins writing, because they've been around long enough to distinguish fads and fluff from enduring values. She'll catch you if you try to change history. Like this post, in which she muses whether people would be cooperative and decent during this downturn like they were during the Great Depression which she remembers. You treasure voices like hers; otherwise contemporary know-it-alls extrapolate the present into the past. 'Not so that people are more dishonest and slippery and belligerent than they were before,' they'll say. 'We just have better reporting today.' But old birds like Mary won't let them get away with it.
"I remember well the 1930s and its poverty," she writes. "Men stood placidly in long lines hoping for a job, any job. There was little in the way of welfare and many went to bed hungry. Notwithstanding, few people locked their doors in fear of losing what little they had. Today, instead of patient, placid men standing in line for jobs, we would have riots. Because this country has not taken the stern measures China did to curtail its drug problem, if we have a deep recession, no house will be safe from invasion of drug addicts seeking a “fix”. We survived the great depression of the twentieth century because the majority of the population in America were descendents of legal immigrants who had deep respect for law and order......Yes, we had crime during thirties, but when a teenager, I felt no fear walking home from a movie late in the evening, old women needn’t fear being mugged carrying bags of groceries home, and old men could sit in a park late in the evening without fear of being beaten by teenage hoodlums. Situations have a way of getting worse the older a country grows."
This mirrors (except for my biblical application) a post I wrote long ago: Hitchhikers and Hoboes. Hitchhiking, not that long ago, was a perfectly acceptable, cheap, and safe way of getting around. Hobos were harmless. Don't tell me conditions today are same as they've always been.
This is my beef with Mad Men, a hugely popular TV show set in the 1960's. (which I've never seen - another item I pass judgment upon sight unseen - a habit I picked up from the Judge First, Ask Questions Later religious conferences) Characters of the program are sleazy and promiscuous, every bit as much as today. The effect - and perhaps the motivation? - is to implant the notion that today's conduct is normal - people have always been as they are now. But I remember in high school, back in the days when people got dressed up to go downtown, a classmate who became pregnant. It was absolutely shocking; people spoke of it in hushed tones. She was withdrawn from school, and I never saw nor heard from of her again (not that we were ever close). Sometimes I wonder what became of the poor girl. Possibly, she emerged stronger, since trial has a way of doing that. On the other hand, maybe she destructed. But the point is that the event was anything but normal, as it is today. Having a child out of wedlock is practically a status symbol today, at least in our neck of the woods.
Does this not all validate that long list of adjectives [17!] Paul uses to describe people in the "last days?"
But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up [with pride], lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away. - 2 Tim 3:1-5
Meander With Me Mary doesn't think so. Breaking away from a strict Mennonite life, she now has absolutely no use for religion, and particularly for that based upon the Bible. Whooooooowheee! you should hear her when she gets going on it - I can picture steam coming from her ears! But I'm immune to her carrying on, because I have a Mennonite of my own up my sleeve. A Watchtower issue of last year features the life story of a Witness who was once a Mennonite. I know the fellow. I've been to his home. I won't name him, for he doesn't blog. Moreover, he is now quite elderly and in poor health. Why should I assume he wants to "go public?"
As a Mennonite, he was chased from Russia to Germany. He studied with Jehovah's Witnesses there, was baptized, and then emigrated again to Paraguay. He began preaching in a Mennonite colony in his new country, where they promptly spread out warnings about the newly arrived "false prophet." With a growing family, he moved here to New York. The article touches upon various spiritual highlights and experiences he encountered.
What the article does not mention is that this fellow must be a millionaire. He became one of the area's premiere homebuilders, with tracts of houses popping up everywhere, and he has used his wealth to accomplish much good. Now....it's not a huge point in itself, I suppose, but combined with innumerable like points, it makes a great impression upon me. Because - you know that nine out of ten outfits would only focus on his secular success; that's what people typically love to boast about. The Watchtower, however, doesn't even mention it, just as he never carried on about it. Instead, the focus is entirely on spiritual matters, as he was a spiritual man. Recall from Second Timothy that "lovers of money" was one of the attributes assigned to people in the last days. I do appreciate an organization that puts spiritual values first. It's a rarity today.
So let ex-Mennonite Mary trash religion all she wants. I got me my own ex-Mennonite. The two counter-balance.