Precious Moments in American Religion

Wednesday, 01 Jan 1997

A sappy, sentimental, harmless deity is hardly worthy of our awe, and perhaps this is one reason why the popular god elicits only passing excitement and new golden calves must be fashioned when today's intoxication turns into tomorrow's hang-over.
On more than one occasion I have concluded that I am inhabiting a Salvador Dali painting: clocks dripping off of trees in surreal landscapes, and all that. Perhaps no occasion more deeply pressed this haunting suspicion than on a trip through America's heartland this past summer. I was making my way to New Haven, Connecticut, from California in my heavy-laden Pathfinder. Having driven across the country numerous times, I have tried to punctuate the tedious trek with stops at various points of local interest. But this time, on my fourth day of the journey, I stumbled ...

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