Monday, June 22, 2009

The Endless Steppe

Have you ever read the book entitled The Endless Steppe? Probably not. Though it is a bit similar to Anne Frank's Dairy, (young Jewish girl recounting how WW2 affected her) it is not nearly as widely read. The book is written for readers roughly 12 to 15. In it, young Esther is the only daughter of a wealthy Jewish family living in Vilna, Poland. WW2 is raging, yet she is in Poland occupied by the Soviet Union, and the war stops at her garden gate. That is until her family's wealth is confiscated, and they are relocated to Siberia for the crime of capitalism.

The story then follows her journey barely surviving Siberian winters until what remains of her family is allowed to return to Vilna after the war: happier ending than Anne's but an equally compelling read.

For my purpose here, I will place The Endless Steppe alongside Gone with the Wind. I do this because of one similarity the books share, though Esther's true story is moving and not nearly the soap opera as that of the fictional Scarlett. What do these books have in common? The collapse of a social order in which the wealthy are stripped of their power and prestige radically and rapidly.

Think of the Romanovs, the last ruling family of Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution. How startling to find one's self at the center of tradition, heritage of family and state, and believing that you are fully within God's will living life as it is has always been known for generations. (Esther in Steppe did not address the God angle so much as I recall--read the book forty years ago now--but it is easily inferred as a complicating factor for the emotions of her family who are Jewish.)

Are we as American Christians prepared for what lies ahead of us? I am not so much addressing this from an eschatalogical viewpoint as I am simply extrapolating the consequences of a bankrupt US government.

I am not one to write about politics, so don't read that last sentence as a political statement. It is more economic and sociological. What will become of society as we know it, if our government's debt is called in by those lending to us and we cannot pay? Have we assumed the US Constitution faced no real threat of abbrogation or that our society would endure as it is now long past our short lives?

1 comment:

careyrowland said...

It's a hard, hard, hard rain's a gonna fall.