Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Religion Of Industrialism

How utterly spiritual it all is, the sights and sounds and sense of industrialism. I may lose sight of it on other days, like in the hard work of a Monday or a Tuesday, but on Sunday, that's when we give it all up for our Higher Power.

For Him, many of the Residential Industrialists knock it off for the day, giving their belts and pulleys, lines and hooks rest from their daily rounds. The workers -- Mom, Pop, kids, the grandkids -- look up and give those moments of service to the Father of Industrialists.

Who is more industrious than the Father of Industry? No one. When He created all things and gave us a place to stand and work, even He backed off the levers of production for His day of rest. He could've gone right on building a bigger earth, since it's smaller than all the larger planets, but He let all the works grind to a halt when the day of rest arrived.

Now, does every Residential Industrialist follow Him in that? No. Many keep right on going through Sunday, and that's their right. Each man has to decide for himself how closely he wants to align himself with this practice. Since it's obviously very imitative, and I'd say it has a certain amount of arbitrariness in it as well, being just one pattern in existence lifted above the others, it's arbitrary to criticize. But that's one of the abstruse theological arguments that doesn't get us very far. We simply allow each man to do it his way and bless the whole works. And for those who disagree, they have time on Sunday to fight it out.

But, in fact, the case could be made that the continually industrious man has it right, since the resting on the day of rest for the Creator was a one time thing and surely He's been working steadily right along in a very industrious way ever since. The sun yet rises, the foundations of the mountains are kept in place, the ocean's tides lift in the same tumult, and cows still need to be milked. Nothing in Creation comes to a screeching halt.

As for me, I actually like the constant hum of things. When it comes to conveyor belts and all that, the hooks on lines dangling from the ceiling, the whirring, the squeaking of gears -- I like it. When they switch it off, like when they need to clean up on third shift, or for the day of rest, the quiet for me is very disquieting.

But, once you get used to it, the quiet can start to grow on you, only to be disturbed by the rustling of the pages of a holy book and the soft murmurs of devotion. The Lord of Industry looks down and likes what He sees, I feel we can safely presume.

Then, soon enough, the day comes to an end. The foreman blows the steam whistle, giving the "All Clear," that the day of rest is finally over and it's time to get back to production. The lines make a cracking noise as they start, big component panels hanging on hooks shake, almost dance at first, then it's all underway again, and things flow smoothly.

After their day of rest, the workers are happy to be back to the rhythm of life, and may spontaneously break into an improvised spiritual, praising "de Lord above" for His rich bounty of interchangeable parts.

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