Home » Behind the Scenes » Currently Reading:

Dave Williams Releases New Book

February 21, 2010 by Dave Williams filed under Behind the Scenes No Comments

Searching for God in the Sixties

This paradigm-breaking book dares to rethink the whole of the ’60s experience, not from a political or sociological but from an historical/theological perspective. Camille Paglia wrote that “the spiritual history of the sixties has yet to be written.” This is that book. For now that the academic theorists have run into an empty ditch, the time has come to reconsider the religion that has long been the principal discourse through which most Americans make sense of reality.

Since the Old Testament was replaced by the New, we have had in Western culture a constant back and forth between the law and the spirit, between the establishment and the awakening, between the rational head and the irrational heart. If the ’50s were all structure, the ’60s were another romantic effort to escape the control of the rational and give full vent to the repressed spirit. Who are we, anyhow, when all the lies are stripped away? As scripture asks: “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” The romantics of the ’60s, like the Transcendentalists, rejecting the very idea of sin, dared to open the cage and let the repressed id come forth, only to find that the light at the end of the long dark tunnel of consciousness was the gleam in Charlie Manson’s eye.

With the election of Barack Obama, the Sixties has finally ended, not because he fulfills the ideals of that decade, but because he, like Jojo, has returned us to where we once belonged. Bush may not be the last hippy, but his approach to life, to governing, purely intuitive and from the gut, a rejection of his father’s rationality, was the last breaking wave of that ocean storm. Paradoxically, Bush was much more like Bill Clinton in being led by his id, his passions, than any true conservative.

The book’s chapters each correspond to a line in Emily Dickinson’s poem “Finding is the first act.” The parallel to Dickinson’s experience in the psychic wilderness demonstrates just how much the experience of the ’60s was part of an ongoing American story and not an aberration. Though it seems contradictory, this book argues for an appreciation of the three ’60s: 1960s, 1860s, 1660s, each a chapter of the religious core of the American story.

The central theme of the decade, a romantic rebellion against neo-orthodox cynicism, may well have been a mistake, but a necessary mistake, a correction that had to be made. Post-modernism’s rejection of the essential romanticism that drove that decade, its emphasis on contingency and absence, is but another signifier for our powerlessness in the hands of an angry God. The enemy turned out to be not them, nor the social structure, but as Pogo said us. Hence the final line of the Dickinson poem: “Jason sham too.”

About the Author

Baby boomer David R. Williams, born in Boston in 1949, experienced the ’60s up close and personal. Taking 1968 off before entering college, he shipped out with the merchant marine, fought against the Vietnam War, worked to elect McCarthy president, rioted in Grant Park, and arrived at Harvard in time for the campus takeover.

He later earned a Masters in Theology from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in American Civilization from Brown. He wrote Wilderness Lost and Sin Boldly! and won the “Excellence In Teaching” Award at George Mason University. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Czechoslovakia in 1991, has two sons, Nathan and Sam, and lives in a former black community, “Swampoodle,” where he writes and brews his own bitter beer.

University of Delaware Press
On the Web at http://www2.lib.udel.edu/udpress

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Pearl Harbor

flag

By Nicholas Reid Seventy-five years ago this December 7, to quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” It will have been 75 …

Early Returns: How U.S. Markets Reacted to the Presidential Election

Smith0035

On November 8, 2016, Republican candidate Donald J. Trump won a closely contested election for president of the United States. Late on election night, when it became evident that Trump was likely to win, despite consistently trailing in the polls, …

America: Worthy of Our Trust

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel My friend and I sit in a bar near our office. He is upset, bags under his eyes due to lack of sleep. Thursday, our weekly night to meet is usually a happy hour filled with intellectual …

South Riding

South Riding

I should have known that this one would take me far from my contemplative, Zen-inspired comfort zone; after I’d traversed more construction projects than I wanted to tally, competed with hurried, coffee-driven commuters with no time for mere existence, and …

Support Group Help Needed

drmikenewpic

Dr. Mike, My son was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago, and his pediatrician at that time recommended we try a social skills group for his “immaturity” and “impulsivity.” We did that, and our experience was horrible. The kids in …

The State of Corals

Figure 3 close up view of healthy coral polyps. [9]

(Presented to the Board of Supervisors December 6, 2016) “Events as severe as the 1998 event, the worst on record, are likely to become commonplace within 20 years.” – Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999 [4] Tony Noerpel

Reply to Nicholas Reid – What is Science

noerpel_new

“The word “cult” has always been controversial because it is (in a pejorative sense) considered a subjective term, used as an ad hominem attack against groups with differing doctrines or practices, which lacks a clear or consistent definition.” “[Dogma] is …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

December 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
November 28, 2016 November 29, 2016 November 30, 2016 December 1, 2016 December 2, 2016 December 3, 2016

Holiday Open House

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

December 4, 2016

Holiday Open House

December 5, 2016 December 6, 2016 December 7, 2016 December 8, 2016 December 9, 2016 December 10, 2016

Barrel Tasting Event Saturday

December 11, 2016
December 12, 2016 December 13, 2016 December 14, 2016 December 15, 2016 December 16, 2016 December 17, 2016 December 18, 2016
December 19, 2016 December 20, 2016 December 21, 2016 December 22, 2016 December 23, 2016 December 24, 2016 December 25, 2016
December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration

January 1, 2017
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

Ugly Christmas Sweater Fad Keeps Growing

30 Nov 2016

uglysweater

Since 2012, the Re-Love It consignment shop, at 138 N. 21st Street in Purcellville, has developed the reputation as the place to get your Ugly Christmas Sweater in the Metro D.C. area. In that time, Re-Love It has sold more than 3,000 vintage Ugly Christmas Sweaters.

(Be the first to comment)

‘The Giver’ Comes To Franklin Park Arts Center

30 Nov 2016

FranklinParkLog2014web(2)

Geronimo Production Company’s Premier Show Geronimo Production Company is bringing another sort of Christmas play to Loudoun County. The Giver, based on Lois Lowry’s YA dystopian classic, will be premiering at Franklin Park Arts Center on December 8-11. “This show is perfect for Christmastime,” director Keaghan Wier said. “It focuses on displaying the value of family, love, and joy…. These …

(Be the first to comment)

What Is Special To You about the Holidays?

30 Nov 2016

henrycarlson

By Amanda Clark Henry Carlson – Purcellville “For me, the holidays are about celebrating the connection you’ve got with your kin, listening to 50’s music, and staying warm!”

(Be the first to comment)

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

blueridge2.jpg

– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

blueridge2.jpg

– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception

catesbyproposal

We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You …

It’s Our Right

catesbyproposal

On December 6, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a “Minor Special Exception” proposal we submitted earlier this year concerning our Catesby Farm property. Unfortunately, our limited …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm

blueridge2

By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall

outandaboutloudoun

The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

(Be the first to comment)

Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

(Be the first to comment)

Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana

marijuana

Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

Accepting Applications for Sports League Funding

30 Nov 2016

basketball

Purcellville is accepting applications from local organizations for its annual sports league funding program. Organizations must serve the Town of Purcellville area, have citizens of the Town of Purcellville as players, and provide a letter to the Town from the IRS confirming the organization’s tax exempt status in order to …

(Be the first to comment)

Woodgrove High Student Will Pursue Track and Field at George Mason

30 Nov 2016

woodgrove

Puneet Kaur of Woodgrove High School has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her track and field career at George Mason University. Kaur has held the school record in shot put since her sophomore year and is looking to throw shotput, hammer, discus and maybe even the javelin …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009