News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 11, 2013

RONN MOTT: What’s happening?

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — I know I may have looked at these situations differently when I was in my twenties.  The world, my life, my career, and the growth of my family all lay ahead of me.  So perhaps now, many years later, I see it differently.

A random article in a national paper, it was either the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, said only one out of five Americans who are passing away now are being buried in the ground. I suppose that, in and of itself, doesn’t appear to be too terribly unique.

Some of my friends who have passed away have been cremated … even some of my older relatives. That flies in the face of our Judeo Christian heritage. The inspiration for the Christian Church was the death of Jesus, being interred in a tomb, then being resurrected. The promise to believers … they too will be resurrected. That will occur when their Lord returns to raise them from the cold ground and their physical deaths and they secure a place in the Christian paradise which we call heaven. But what happens when you’re not there? If you ask a handful of Christians, you’ll get more than a handful of answers.

It is certainly, just by the sheer numbers, not something that is bothering the people who are being cremated. It is, however, a definite shift in our culture. The burying of people was an optional thing during the Greek and Roman civilizations. But with the Judeo Christian faith growing and certainly in the Christian era, being buried was something that was intended and cremation was, at the time, an almost unused option.

A cultural shift? A caring less about Christian tradition? I don’t know. It is a sign of the times.

For Americans, the fact that we used to sit behind the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and never wanted to bother in wars elsewhere in the world has certainly shifted. Thousands of American boys died in France in World War I and World War II. Most had never been to France, but they knew about it and most knew about France’s participation in our Revolutionary War. Almost none had ever been to Iraq or Afghanistan and even fewer knew anything at all about the countries. Yet, they have also died there by the thousands.

Are we going to continue to be the policemen for the world and pay the expense, plus the lives of all those young people? I don’t know.

Same-sex marriage partnerds and their adoption of young children and giving them hope for the future doesn’t upset me in any way. Yet there are thousands of people it angers and they profess it to be against their religious faith.  

We Americans are a strange lot. In our time as a country we have thrown up hate groups like popping peas from a pod. And yet we manage, at this point, being a land of opportunity for just about everybody. I have found in my conversations occasionally talking with strangers that most people are concerned about the country and the direction it is going. We have managed to keep the myth alive because we do not teach the truth of American history, even at the collegiate level.  

There are many great things we have done and some not so great. Somebody wrote in the early ’50s that the only thing constant in show business is change. I think you could say that about America as well.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.