High Point, NC
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Robin & Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson with Dan Chouinard) comes to the High Point Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $60-$40
Garrison Keillor and the Hopeful Gospel Quartet (Robin & Linda Williams, Prudence Johnson with Dan Chouinard) comes to the Waynes Theatre for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 7:00PM $55 reserved
Garrison Keillor and the Hopefuls (Robin and Linda Williams) comes to the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center for an Evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $30 reserved/ $10 children
Carrollton, GA Luncheon
Garrison Keillor will join guests for a casual Luncheon in the Lobby of the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center, where he will talk about how it all began and where he thinks he is going. Tickets: $45
Garrison Keillor Tonight with opener Debi Smith comes to The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA for an Evening of poetry, Sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. Tickets $45.00.
I’ve been avoiding the news for a while, but it was hard to ignore the recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute that showed about 15 percent of Americans believe the government is controlled by Satanists who kidnap children and drink their blood and that patriots will need to depose them by violent revolution. This represents as many people as belong to Methodist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches in America. It is sort of dizzying to contemplate, even for an Episcopalian like me.
The study found that 55 percent of Republicans “mostly disagreed” with those ideas but not entirely. One-fourth of Republicans disagreed entirely, compared to 58 percent of Democrats, which still leaves a good many ambivalent Democrats.
It makes me wonder about the purity of drinking water in the middle of the country. These are not ideas taught in public school civics courses. I’ve never overheard anyone discussing Satanist pedophiles at a table near me at lunch. But PRRI now classifies QAnon, which holds these views, as a major religion. So there you are. Welcome to the 21st century.
This was why I took a vacation from the news, to avoid getting foamed up about something that exists only in people’s minds and not in the world you and I walk through every day. There are paranoids who view passersby with suspicion. I grew up among gentle people who believed that God had revealed truths to them that were denied to the rest of Christendom. I am related to some of those people. Slightly nutty, but harmless.
The day that Senator McConnell proposes a temporary suspension of the Bill of Rights to allow a cleansing of Satanist pedophiles in the State Department is the day I get alarmed about QAnon and until then I don’t care what they think. Let Joe Biden worry about it. That’s what we elected him to do.
I am going to focus on what I hear directly from people I know. I know two women who recently gave birth to their first babies and are joyful and so are their men and that is real news. A grandson is starting college. A daughter is moving. A friend has finished a novel. A widowed friend, marrying again at 84, writes to say he is well and adds, “And it’s none of your business but the sex is great.” A cousin attended a graduation ceremony at a school for intellectually disabled children and one poor graduate stammered through a speech of which little could be understood and the crowd clapped all the harder for him.
Life Goes On. That’s the news. Mosquitoes drink children’s blood and they don’t run the government. And after a year away, I return to my church, the one that believes God sent His Son to this planet to suffer and die for the redemption of the wayward human race.
All of my spiritual elders are gone, the ones who taught me lessons from the Bible, so I am on my own. I pray that they found the heavenly reward they trusted would be theirs. I believe in a fraction of what I was taught, my faith wavers. My faithful older brother whom I could talk to about these things went skating one day, slipped, hit his head, and died, and now I am much older than he is. My elders believed in a fiery Hell but did not beat up on us about it; I don’t. Nor do I believe that Heaven is the most beautiful golf course ever. (“If you hadn’t made me stop smoking, Marge, I could’ve been here years ago.”) But I do believe that when Jesus, surrounded by the sick and impoverished and oppressed, the blind and demon-possessed, said to his disciples, “Whatsoever you do for the least of these, you do for me and your Father in heaven,” he spoke the truth, and if you wish for some truth in your life, along with your interesting attitudes and opinions, this is the one to go for.
My elders tried to make Scripture be clear, rational, inevitable, irrefutable, but it actually is miraculous. Ancient tribes wandering the desert discovered that they were dearly loved by their Creator who allowed them to suffer in hopes it would draw them closer to Him. I don’t get it but I go for it. And the choir was glorious on Sunday. Oh my God in heaven, what a joyful noise.