Sunday, September 18, 2005

The reality of the post-modern world

It's intimidating driving through my parents' neighborhood where I've taken up long-term temporary residence.

Driving home from church today in the most eastern hills of Greater Phoenix, opulence was in my face from door step to door step. These are not your ordinary tract homes. These are custom homes built on large acreages, all designed to maximize the Valley views and the ego. Some of these neighborhoods don't have paved roads -- because they can afford not to have them paved. The residents here like communing with the coyotes from the safe perspective of their fenced hot tubs.

So I live here, but I am not a local. All of this is quite foreign to me.

I hit the stop light before the short hill climb up to my parents' house, and I was parked behind a nice domestic car. The only thing that struck me about it was they had the nerve to put bumper stickers on the back. New money? Probably.

There were two bumper stickers. The one on the right was something out of the 90s, a Nike-type slogan about living life to the fullest. You know, just do it. The one on the left was a perfect compliment to this very post-modern neo-nihilism:
"Since I've given up on my search for the truth, I'm now looking for the perfect fantasy."
I can attest this is a popular sentiment in this neighborhood. It's all about cloistering one self in big houses filled with technology, surrounded by pristine desert and God's kingdom of desert critters. These houses have windows to the fifth largest city in the country, but I wonder if they ever have time to look out them while they're fiddling with their multiple home cinemas and top flight gadgets.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not judging them. A part of me wishes I could afford this lifestyle, even if I don't care for this particular version. There are plenty of good Christians up here, all of them blessed with great bounty, and the majority of them more than willing to sacrifice for the cause of the kingdom. At least as far as I can tell with my limited contact. It's not like they're about to have a block party around here. Most people are satisfied with a smile and a wave as you drive by on the way to work.

What catches me off guard are those who have willingly stopped looking for truth. People no longer want to be associated with anything. You'd be hard pressed to get someone who doesn't believe in God to ponder whether they are an atheist. In their minds, the search for truth isn't important. Reality is only what you can make of it, and in America, money is the greatest opiate and best way to skew reality to your liking. You can't control the outside world, but you can do a great job hiding from it.

These fortress of solitudes do more than keep socializing down. They are Son blockers. What role could God possibly play in these people's lives? At least until something shakes them, like a hurricane, or personal tragedy or illness. That is what saddens me most. For those who do not know God, they have made themselves impenetrable, immovable forces. They willingly create the illusion of being in control while freely admitting it's a temporal thing. Truth cannot be attained in this perspective, so let's eat, drink, and be merry while we can.

Eternity is a long time to ponder the importance of this life's search for truth.

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