Monday, May 14, 2012
the handwriting on the wall
I keep coming back to this thought because I love the name of it, which comes from the prophetic OT Book of Daniel Ch. 5.
Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, made a big feast for a thousand of his nobles, and used the gold and silver plates and cups that his old dad, Nebuchad-nezzar, had stolen out of the temple in Jerusalem. "They drunke wine and praised the gods of gold and of siluer, of brasse, of yron, of wood, of stone," says the (original) King James Version, (1611).
(5) "In the same houre came forth fingers of a mans hand, and wrote ouer against the candlesticke vpon the plaister of the wall of the Kings palace, and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. (6) Then the kings countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the ioints of his loines were loosed, and his knees smote one against another."
So it means the same thing today as it did then, that something bad is going to happen.
I agree in a way with conservatives who see this development of gay marriage as another sign that civilization as we have known it is falling apart. You're not wrong; it is.
I'm just not sure that civilization as we've known it, and what we today think of as "tradition," is all that groovy. For one thing, our way of life -- the industrial age -- only began to evolve a couple hundred years ago, and only really began to spread and dominate everywhere about 150 years ago. So what we think of as tradition isn't really all that traditional.
I try as much as possible to live in the future rather than trying to hang on to the past. The future I see coming will rely much more on old, semi-forgotten ways of life than we experience now -- people living in smaller places, getting (or growing) their food locally, and depending on local business. 90 percent fewer cars and no Wal-Mart.
It will be a democratic society, where nobody bothers about whether the neighbors enjoy themselves in their own way.