8.18.2007

Americana Abe

In many ways Abe has become my first sounding board since moving out of Seattle. We have been working job sites together for the last month and a half and as a result numerous conversations have arisen, most of which center around three main themes; American Christianity, American Government, and American Post Modernism.

I put “American” in front of all three themes because I whole heartedly agree with writer Nicholas Von Hoffman when he states that, “It is as though America is in a 3000 mile wide terrarium, an immense biosphere which has cut itself off from the rest of the world and left it to pick its own way down the path of history.”

Over the course of the last two years I have been called many things, some of which include “socialist”, “commie bastard”, “anarchist”, “flaming liberal”, and “revolutionary”. But in my conversations with Abe he has chosen to categorize my perspective on life as “postmodern”. That is a first for me. I have, for as far back as I can remember, held a certain aversion to labels. Unless someone has chosen to place a label upon themselves I see labeling others as a way to place an individual into a group which in turn endows said individual with all of the characteristics of the group and effectively erases any unique attributes that make that individual, well, individual. Once the person in front of you has been “erased” then you no longer have to respect them nor treat them humanely because you are no longer in conversation with a person, instead you are spewing rehearsed hatred and rhetoric towards an idea or a group of people who represent an idea. I write of this “individual erasing” tactic with a knowing smirk because I am guilty of it.

Abe is a sincere guy with a good heart. He endures my righteous (and un-righteous) outbursts toward America, its church, and its government with all the patience of a loving father. He asks me endless questions about why I believe what I believe and why I don’t believe what he believes. I usually give him nebulous answers that only present more questions for his inquisitive mind. At this point in my life I don’t have nor want answers, I am solely interested in good questions.

But yesterday as I worked on a foundation slab, as I slung gravel around trying to create a level basement floor the label “postmodern” popped into my mind. I decided that if I were to allow myself the postmodern label I would only concede to it with a definition I had put forth. And if I were to define post modernism in my own way I would do it with a great deal of ignorance to its real meaning. I would also confine its definition to one area of American culture that I have had the most life experience with: Christianity.

The following was scrawled in my reporter’s notebook while sitting shirtless on the floor of the unfinished foundation:

If by “postmodern” you mean assessing the last 2,000 plus years of Christendom and the way many of its followers have ran around like a chicken with its head cut off while at the same time cutting everyone else’s head off than yes, I am “postmodern”. I am trying to live in the great quiet that settles over a battlefield after the last soldier has been killed. It’s horrific, eerie, and hauntingly profound to look out and see what man has done to itself in the name of God.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Americana Abe, pickup truck and all.

2 Comments:

Blogger Tim T. said...

dude. I really apreciate you keeping your journey active and open to us. It helps me reflect when things get too stupid and hairy. You know how hairy I am too.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous william said...

i support the socialist, commie bastard, anarchist in you.

3:12 PM  

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