1969 And Welcome To It

Any day now my mailman will deliver the monthly magazine of a small regional denomination. Its leading article, the usual review of the year gone by, never varies in January. I could write it in advance: crime has increased; you can’t walk the streets at night in safety; the Man of Sin’s local lackey (“that so-called bishop”) continues his baneful influence in state government; insidious humanism is being purveyed from television and radio stations; the long-haired hordes have taken over the country’s education system; and people generally are harkening unto the voice of the charmer. Like its predecessors, 1969 was a dismal failure, best forgotten, twelve disastrous months in which sin was rampant, virtue unrewarded, and the warnings of a faithful remnant unheeded. A gloomy, rigid, legalistic commentary on that-was-the-year-that-was and good riddance to it. Forecast for tomorrow: rain all the way. Its treatment of the year makes me want to paraphrase Mark Twain: “There’s a lot to be said in its favor, but the other is more interesting.”

Yet the editor is a kindly man who has greeted me warmly on the two occasions we have met, despite my incriminating links. I’m sorry for him (he is probably sorry for me), and for all who are obliged to write to order. I have a delightful memory of one of that editor’s colleagues, far from home and watchdogs, telling seminarians to guard against inordinate preoccupation with bibliolatry. His illustration: “If the Bible says the bush burned, then the bush burned whether the bush burned or not.”

But to return to that magazine. I wondered what it needed to balance its not wholly unjustified Weltanschauung, and decided that a capacity for saying thank you would not be out ...

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