Dec 23, 2011

John D. MacDonald, Jesus, and the Iowa Caucuses 2012

In the 1980s our creator of Travis McGee was getting old, confronting the fact he was nearing his own deep blue good-bye. He turned his attention to the Eternal and wrote  "One More Sunday." It is a tale of two preachers

One leads a giant organization of teevee priest craft. He is the exploiter of advanced technology to generate millions from the book-free living rooms of the sick, the lonely, the hopeless. My God how the money rolls in. And those naive virginal girls all in white, Oh My.

The other is a a bona fide backwoods fundamentalist, and MacDonald makes him a hero. Primitive though his theology may be by allegedly sophisticated standards,  he rejects the offer of fame, big money, and all the alluring young ladies of the choir. He prefers to continue his personal quest, exploring with his small flock a way of finding meaning in a brief human life, a single strobe flash between the eternal Before and the everlasting After.


It's a rather long book and, I believe, not one of MacDonald's best. But if John's narrative powers were beginning to fade, his unmatched reporting skill was intact. "One More Sunday"  justifies your reading time with a wholly believable set of observations on the difference between God as the temple money changer, leading in all the polls, always heading the Top 40 Chart...

...and God as the ultimate mystery; God as sublime mathematics, or as the purest poetry, or as a Creator anxious for us to understand His nature and desires. Or Hers. John also leaves the reader perfectly free to reflect on a God identical to the image presented by Jews, later joined by Christians, over the past few thousand years of human history as recorded in the the Middle-East and the "West."

I doubt he would have endorsed The Almighty as fund-raising tool for defeated Iowa politicians. Further, my personal conceit this morning is that John may have given me a pleasant nod for calling  "One More Sunday" a useful tool for understanding the snake ball of American -- and especially Iowa -- presidential politics.




JohnW said...

"My God how the money rolls in."
I know that song. 8-)

Anonymous said...

I may have to read that. It may get me out of my annual Blacks. Other people around here would appreciate that.JAGSC

Jim said...

Damn the seasonal Blacks. The "Black Dog," Churchill called it.

I never found a dependable cure, though MacDonald has often helped me find an escape route to bridge the worst parts.

It also helps me to understand -- or maybe just believe --believe that they're universal.