Turin-Brakes6
IMG9097
Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08-----07
Brooks-Williams1
Torch-2012-05-23093-
Brazier
Roving-Crows1
Mop-Fair---10-10-09------08
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09------30
D4S0472
Tina-May5
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
SBJ
Animals06
EARLY-MORNING-CANTER-473-
Ogbourne
Musical-Time-Machine5
TdB-Pewsey044
Hares017cropped
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
Pete-Gage-Band1
MYFC005
FROSTY-MORNING-
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
Landscape
Inbox-1
Big-Bull
Camilla-2012-10-19152
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
George-Wilding-301
White-Horse
Sunset2
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
YELLOWHAMMER-473-
D4S9273
JazzFestSat572
4MI-2013-11-28030
Scouting-for-Girls7
Inbox2
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
Sunset
Duke-of-Kent086
MBORO-HOCKEY-YOUTH-473
BABRURY-XC-JUMP-473
Snowy-High-Street
Remebrance-18-2
Gordon-and-Sam
Remebrance-18-1
IMG8472
D812668
Camilla-MSM
Civic-Service-18
Remebrance-18-3

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Land of Discontent - Pub Theology and the US Election

I suspect that I am not alone in being both bewildered and alarmed by the Presidential Election Campaign in the United States.  Here in Britain we have had our own recent experience of negative campaigning and have learnt for ourselves that the casting of votes does not remove the underlying issues but can serve to expose them more fully.

It is widely recognised that the Leave Vote in June’s Referendum included a large element of protest and allowed people to voice their sense of frustration that somehow they had been left behind in life’s race or that others have benefitted at their expense.  Parallels are never exact, but it would appear that Donald Trump’s support has its roots in a similar sense of discontent.

Because of their particular personalities and characters, it is easy to be dismissive of figures like Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, but that is to ignore they way that both can serve as ciphers for deeper issues.  They allow a voice to be heard and of course both have played on fears.  For that reason despite being ‘big’ figures the votes that they garner are not based on their personality or character at all.  Accordingly their apparent supporters should not be dismissed.

Many years ago I spent a summer travelling around the United States and remember having a number of conversations about British and US society.  One comment I have not forgotten was the summary that a young woman offered to me;  ‘You see’, she said, ‘the United States is a society built on disappointment’.

Her reasoning was that, founded as a religious utopia, the land they reached was never quite as promising as the Founding Fathers thought it would be.  The further west the settlers went, the greater their expectations and subsequent disappointment – at least that was her argument.

Hers was a striking and grand narrative but I am beginning to wonder if it contains quite a lot of truth.

If such high expectations are then combined with a strong culture of consumption, the continuing quest for ‘something more’ leads to a society which contains both energy and anxiety, both of which are characteristics of the United States.

Religion plays a much more prominent part in public life in America than in Western Europe, but it seems to have failed to instil in its adherents a different way of valuing things and themselves.  For at the heart of faith is the conviction that all humans are precious to God and valued as such. Contentment can therefore be found in the present rather than imagined in the future.

“We are to grow Rich, not by seeking what we Want, but by Enjoying what we have”, wrote Thomas Traherne in the 17th Century.  Advice that might be tailor made for both sides of the Atlantic

For days after June 23rd, lots of us talked of nothing but the Referendum.  The same may apply to the US Election in the days following November 8th.  

On Thursday 10 November there will be another session of Pub Theology when we meet in the Green Dragon at 7.30pm.  Do come and join the conversation!

Print Email

4MI-2013-11-28030
White-Horse
Remebrance-18-2
Duke-of-Kent086
D4S9273
Tina-May5
Marlborough-under-snow-from-above---Pete-Davies
Camilla-2012-10-19152
SBJ
IMG8472
1stXV-and-others-with-Mayor
Brooks-Williams1
Turin-Brakes6
Snowy-High-Street
Inquisitive-sheep-in-West-Overton
Remebrance-18-3
Roving-Crows1
Sunset2
Hares017cropped
Gordon-and-Sam
Pete-Gage-Band1
Camilla-MSM
Musical-Time-Machine5
Brazier
Big-Bull
D4S0472
ARKManton-2012-01-1449-
Bluebells-in-West-Woods-10-05-09---30
Animals06
Civic-Service-18
Landscape
Mop-Fair---10-10-09---08
TdB-Pewsey044
Sunset
IMG9097
JazzFestSat572
George-Wilding-301
Town-Hall-2011-05-0308-
Scouting-for-Girls7
Marlborough-2013-04-18StPeters
Torch-2012-05-23093-
Ogbourne
D812668
Christmas-Lights15-11-20097
Silbury-Sunset---10-06-08---07
CivicSelfie1
MYFC005
Remebrance-18-1