August 20, 2012
It may be a perfect storm: upscale Americans remodeled their family rooms to accommodate the latest/greatest mega-flatscreens… and the late summer schedule offered the Olympics from London, followed by political mudwrestling from Tampa and Charlotte. It’s not too late to get TiVo…
We’re all gearing-up; in November, millions will cast ballots for the candidates they believe will offer them the best shot at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – inalienable rights vested by a Creator whom many dismiss as fantasy. Who’s running on the Happiness ticket?
Happiness has a growing following. Earlier this month, Ben Bernanke – the Federal Reserve Chairman – said that we ought to add happiness to the other metrics – unemployment, Gross National Product, market indexes – that track success. That’s a new chapter in the economics manual…
Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal led off their Friday Journal section with multiple pages devoted to “Living the High Life.” The world of the affluent – undoubtedly, the people most savvy about being really happy – is now in a gold medal competition of their own. The economic arms race isn’t building missiles; nowadays, it’s monuments. Residential towers are the rage; establishing your domicile in the clouds is the ultimate one-up, in the 21st Century.
The Museum Tower in Dallas is almost a Texas embarrassment at 560´. The Mansions in Sunny Isles, Florida – 649´ – boasts individual apartments of 15,000 square feet. In New York, the Gehry – 870´ high – will command rents approaching $60,000/month; across town, One57 will be the city’s tallest living space at 1004´. London’s Shard will top-out at 1016´, just 47´ shorter than the Eiffel Tower in Paris – where no one lives, but the Great Unwashed are allowed to climb and gawk, so they’ll know what they’re missing when they bed down at night, down there at ground level…
Towers have always fascinated people; not long after the Great Flood, when Noah’s family had multiplied into myriad cousins and resourceful entrepreneurs, people built a tower. What a picture of can-do initiative:
“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.’
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel – because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:1-9)
This wasn’t just-another building project: the fired bricks and tar were intended to flood-proof their work. God had told Noah that He would never again flood the whole earth, but the builders at Babel weren’t buying it, for a minute. They couldn’t be happy unless they had built up their defenses against the possibility of God’s righteous judgment.
Things didn’t go well for those folks; their pursuit of happiness resulted in language confusion, and global dispersion. It has taken 5000 years to get people talking again, and to make distance irrelevant. We’ve rebuilt our towers, and reconstructed our firewalls to keep God at bay…
I wonder what He might do next?