I know that I am back in this country but part of me, reflecting on my sabbatical, is still in America. I have cards and letters from newly made friends asking when I am planning to return.
If you look back over my sabbatical blogs (March 26th – 30th) you will see my reflections on the International American Society of Ageing Conference. In one blog I expressed the vain hope that I might secure some support for a visit to the 2009 conference to be held in Las Vegas. I had a firm and amusing reply from the Church Treasurer. I wonder why!!
But seriously – wouldnt you like to travel to the States and visit all those places in the vast and fascinating country? My extended time in Washington and Chicago has given me a thirst for more! This is more than an evasion of responsibility – a desire to be a perpetual tourist – I shall spend part of my retirement on that trip – I am genuinely intrigued by this country and its cultures.
America is a new creation, a discovery of the modern mind, formed out of unnumbered dreams. First and foremost it is the dream of immigrants: first from Europe, then Asia, and them from the young Mexico and latin America. This diverse land and people is held together by ‘the American dream’.
This dream grew out of the English Pilgrim Fathers, and their deep passion for the Kingdom of God, the divine covenant of being a chosen people. This biblical vision became a reality with the American declaration of Independence of 1786. With the American constitution, the dream of liberty, equality, and the happiness of all human beings was meant to determine the first modern nation :
‘ We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’.
This is a dream proclaimed by all American Presidents – and the rhetoric will shape the battle for the White House this autumn. This is why American believes that it has a mission – it shapes their open and positive culture. America is a land of hope for all peoples, hope for a new community of humanity.
Strong and attractive stuff – and in sharp contrast with much of the goings on in this country at so many different levels.
Now back to reality. How about a trip to the Mid West – or to the South – Alabama or Texas or to California or Florida – a retreat I say to explore the theology further? Dreams? Dream on James.