Friday, February 11, 2011

Steinbeck and Our Modern Day

I've been rereading Steinbeck, in particular, The Grapes of Wrath. For more on how I came to read that book, and my thoughts on Tom Joad's reappearances in popular culture, go to this post on my creativity blog.

I'm impressed with Steinbeck's compassion for the poor and dispossessed. His anger about their situation moves me; he reminds me of an Old Testament prophet in that way.

Bruce Springsteen wrote a song called "The Ghost of Tom Joad." Rage Against the Machine did a righteous cover version of that song.

I don't see as much of the Old Testament prophet stance in our churches today, and certainly not from our religious leadership who have the most visible perches in society. I'm not thinking so much of the bishops and presidents of mainstream denominations; they don't have much of a perch.

I'm also thinking of all the loudmouths who have much more visibility than almost any religious figure. Why get so angry about the national debt? Where is the anger about our current day Joad families?

We have as much to move us to righteous anger as Steinbeck did. In fact the parallels between The Grapes of Wrath and our day are downright scary. I'll spend the day thinking about modern day equivalents of John Steinbeck. Maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places.

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