Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
April 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor comes to the Rochester Civic Theatre for a night of stories, songs, poetry, and humor. Tickets $50 and up
February 19, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 2 of 2. Tickets $30+
February 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 1 of 2. Tickets $30+
Probably the greenhouse gas report of the U.N. Environment Program shouldn’t have come out the week of Thanksgiving, a time when gassy emissions are quite heavy in the U.S. and people are likely to use the newspaper for guests to park their snowy boots on, but there it was and the picture is bleak, perhaps dire. The planet is heating up at a rate faster than scientists had ever expected, the U.S. is turning our back on the issue, and most people are dozing comfortably through it all. The press leaps when the White House tweets but it doesn’t know how to cover the major crisis of our time, the slow demise of Earth itself.
Other species have undergone extinction and the only reason to think we may be exempt is the divine promise of eternal life offered to the faithful in most major religions. St. Peter tells us that God is not willing that any shall perish. But a moment later he says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” The very sort of thing the U.N. report was getting at.
In my experience, the Christian church comes down heavily on the side of hope and joy, Advent being its busy season, and it leaves the apocalyptic stuff to fringe groups. Norman Rockwell did not paint pictures of Main Street going up in flames, nor do you see a New Yorker cover of the earth passing away: we are a hopeful and humorous people by and large.
I grew up in a fringe evangelical group and when a good evangelist was in top form, a boy could smell the fervent heat and imagine hot lava bubbling in the Lake of Fire, a phenomenal experience very far from Walt Disney and Mister Rogers. It made me feel odd as a young person, longing to be normal, listening to Don and Phil Everly who dreamed about holding someone with all her charms in their arms and then woke up with little Susie and were in trouble deep, but the Ultimate Fate of Mankind was not their concern. I was devoted to their music and the vividness of longing was stronger than the abstraction of the ultimate.
And so it is today. The immediate environment engages us completely and the future is easily ignored. I am 77 and the thought of death seldom occurs to me, talk about obliviousness. And on Sunday, when we were visited by a pal with her beautiful baby, the child was the center of the universe. She is eleven months old and is taking steps, holding on to a chair and then launching out across the floor to her mother, her comforter, her dairy bar and wiper and valet. The child is thrilled by this short journey though she teeters slightly and must stop to correct herself. Walking at eleven months marks her as definitely above average and when she arrives at her mother’s pant leg, the child looks up at me intently to make sure I noticed.
In church that morning, we were told, “Wake up. Lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” That was St. Paul’s message to the Romans and now to the Americans. In other words, “Stop lying to yourself. Get smart.” This child will inherit our mistakes and what will her life be like if, twenty years from now, it’s too late to correct them?
The car is stuck in deep snow and we are far from town and there is no cellphone service. We can curse our predicament but it will not levitate us back on the road. The answer is to start shoveling and hope for someone to come by who has a tow chain and a good heart. Meanwhile, our government has been devoted to works of darkness and it must be thrown out next fall, the whole gang of crooks and con men. This is as clear as day. I’ve spent enough time in New York City to be realistic about Democratic politicians, but there’s a difference between confusion and corruption. I look at this child bravely journeying across the kitchen floor toward her beloved and I pray that someone will come along to Make America Intelligent Again.