The Cry of Modern Humankind

The great religious writer Unamuno creates a character, Augusto Perez, in his book Mist, who, through omniscient narration, turns to his maker (e.g., Unamuno) and cries: “Am I to die as a creature of fiction?” Such is the cry of modern humankind. The Christian author and Harvard Professor Robert Coles laments that we “we have the right to think of ourselves, so rich in today’s America, as in jeopardy sub specie aeternitatis, no matter the size and diversification of his stock portfolio.” It seems, at times that we are lost. “The sense of being lost, displaced, and homeless is pervasive in contemporary culture,” Walter Brueggemann writes. “The yearning to belong somewhere, to have a home, to be in a safe place, is a deep and moving pursuit.” This world does not provide what the characters in these plays need. No, not it really doesn’t. My class advisor in Harvard Divinity School, Dr. Forrest Church, now pastor in a Unitarian Church in New York City, writes, “In our faith God is not a given, God is a question . . . God is defined by us. Our views are shaped and changed by our experiences. We create a faith in which we can live and struggle to live up to it . . . compared to love a distant God has no allure.” Indeed. This thought has gotten us into quite a mess.

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