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A Strange Sucking Sound


Remember taking a bath as a child? Half the fun for me was watching the water drain out of the tub after bath time was over. My toys would begin to float toward the drain, and as the water in the tub slipped away, it would eventually begin to circle counter-clockwise forming something of a whirlpool funnel. And then the strange sucking sound would begin as the center of the whirlpool emptied of water. I can almost hear the sound in my head... Remember it?


What's funny is the direction of rotation of the water is supposedly caused by the earth's rotation, an effect known as the Coriolis effect. Scientists argue about whether or not this is legit, believe it or not. But that's an aside.


It's the sucking sound that is noteworthy. That sound meant that the party in the tub was over, the water almost gone, and everything that would fit was heading down the drain. I keep thinking I am starting to hear a large sucking sound in our culture, as if we are all in danger of going down the proverbial drain.


Walker Percy (yes, I know, I refer to him often) wrote about the dilemma of post-modern mankind. The Enlightenment and Darwinism did away with God and left mankind as a random freak of nature in a meaningless, purposeless universe. We seemed kings and queens of the world, with a hunger for significance, but we were told that that was just the carryover effects of outdated religious sentiment. We were ghosts in a giant machine. Then the industrial revolution of the modern era tore apart the relational fabric between consumers, producers and products. Our work was reduced to something anyone could do anywhere for no one in particular. Percy said that about all that remained to make us feel like we might be alive were sex and violence. The sexual revolution of the 60s and on into today proved him right on the former. The desolations of war in the 20th century and our current cultural mess seems to be moving us toward fulfilling his predictions about the latter.


There is a warring madness in our hearts. We have become bored with sex and have moved on to becoming a violent people. It's all that is left to make us feel like substantial beings. Civil discourse? Gone. Calm and reasoned engagement and debate? What, you must be joking. Respect for elders and those in positions of authority? Why should they be respected when they are the ones responsible for all this mess. Tradition? It's gotta go, it needs to be overturned because it has only fostered classism and racism. We “scream” obscenities at each other in social media. We harass, hate, and shame those we don't like – which is anyone who doesn't agree with us on everything. We foment insurrection and rebellion in our hearts and it spills over into the revolutions and upheavals that are becoming ubiquitous. We demand the right to have exactly what we want, when and how we want it, and without anyone telling us that what we want may not be good for us or for society. And the government needs to pay for it. Or the rich.


The water is starting to swirl, and methinks I begin to hear a strange sucking sound....


Of course, the Church knows that the culture has missed the mark and the consequences have been disastrous. Thankfully, the Lord God Almighty can't be voted out of office or condemned simply because the clamorous mobs of misguided humanity want to use the courts of public opinion to cancel Him. He has a vested interest in the universe and everything in it, and in men and women everywhere. One begins to wonder what He might do if we let the water in the tub drain completely. When we've made shipwreck of it all, when the sucking sound ends, what then? I wonder indeed.

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