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Archive for July, 2012

TRUE AMERICANA, SALT OF THE EARTH

You have to be of a certain age–and been raised on one of those snowy, black and white TVs–in the fifties and sixties, to fully appreciate what Andy Griffith meant to us baby boomers, our parents and grandparents and other elders.

For me, it’s not just the great memories of Andy and Opie, Barney and Aunt Bee and all those other great and iconic characters. I have fond memories, as a lot of us do, of the folksy, down-home comedy albums my parents used to play of Andy’s night club acts, as well as Andy Griffith’s TV career, which was amazing enough for the longevity of it. (His album with the yarn about the football boys is a classic for the ages in comedy and in sports, of course.)

If there are two words in the American lexicon that are woefully misused and abused, it’s “genius” and “icon.” Whoever the coach is that wins next year’s Super Bowl will be celebrated as an offensive genius, if not a defensive. As will some assistant coach. As will half the people in Hollywood before they die, as will achievers and ultra-talented people in all kinds of fields.

But I would argue that Andy Griffith was a comic genius, and certainly would get no argument from anybody that he was one of the greatest American icons, embodying all things American and Americana, of all time.

Being the movie buff and especially the indie film fanatic that I am, I know that he did stretch his acting chops over the years, sometimes taking on movie roles of some really dark characters that were nothing like the wholesome TV characters. It only made me and a lot of other film nuts all the more appreciative of the real genius he was.

Still, those darker roles were his acting. By all accounts he was as genuinely grace-filled and real and down-home a person as his public image. One never really knows, but some people you just know. It’s usually how they endure fame and admiration for as many years as Andy Griffith did.

And even if Andy weren’t as lovable, there’s nothing not to love about the mythical sheriff of Mayberry RFD, U.S.A. And nothing not to love about the man Andy, whatever his flaws, since we all have those, as the good Lord knows.

Happy 4th.

God bless America.

And God bless the sheriff of Mayberry–my kind of jitterbugging American town.

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WALTER BREUGGEMANN: A universally respected scholar and theologian of the Old Testament, but also a powerful preacher whose teachings and preachings on touchy theological issues like thirst for vengeance, greed, intense grief and more are made understandable for lay Christians who need greater understanding of the Old Testament but don’t need the scholarly theology.

The following is some wisdom from the Old Testament scholar, prolific writer and outstanding preacher, Walter Breuggemann, who might just be our greatest Christian theologian–and surely the greatest for the anxious, market-driven and war-driven times in which we live . . .

Click here for “an unofficial fan page.”

“The self-sufficient person knows down deep that self-securing and self-satisfaction finally are unachievable, because they represent life in a world where no gifts are given.

“The outcome of such autonomy without allies or support is an endless process of anxiety, for one never has enough or has done enough to be safe and satisfied.

“As a result, the autonomous person, championed in current economic theory, is caught in an endless rat race of achievement that produces bottomless anxiety—about the market, about performance, about self-worth.

“The autonomous person in the end has nowhere to put his anxiety except to “suck it up” and keep moving.”

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