Married to the Empire

Monday, May 18, 2009

Alas, Babylon



I don't usually talk about what I'm reading here, but this book just resonated with me in amazing ways.

First, if you want to put the current state of the economy into perspective, read this book. Potential layoffs and economic turmoil seem pretty minor when compared to surviving after a nuclear attack. Sounds like a weird comparison, I'm sure, but strangely enough, I read this a couple of months ago, and it really calmed a lot of my fears.

Second, this book really highlights the importance of character. The people who put their faith in money and things didn't fare too well in the new reality. Those who had always put people and relationships first are the ones to do well. They formed partnerships, traded with each other (sometimes without expecting anything in return), and managed to eke out a successful living in the midst of tragedy. In fact, I used this theme when teaching the youth Sunday night. We need to make sure we're spending time on things that actually matter in life. (I used Mark 12:28-31 about our purpose in life, then Ecclesiastes 4:4-12 in talking about the important things in life.) I also read them a few passages from Alas, Babylon as examples. I now have several of the students interested in reading the book. (And in case you're wondering, I can find Christian application in just about anything!)

Third, it gave me some serious stuff to think about, like survival skills and what would be necessary to have in case of disaster. Interestingly, right before I started reading this, I'd been flipping through an old Reader's Digest manual at Half-Price Books. It was on the clearance table for super-cheap, and I was amused at all the supposedly-useless information, like how to build all sorts of things that seem pretty useless in today's world since we can buy most everything pretty cheaply. After reading Alas, Babylon, I started thinking that maybe there was some pretty serious value to that book. Not that I'm expecting a nuclear holocaust or anything, but having the resources to make do in catastrophe really isn't such a bad idea.

I really love it when literature is more than just a story to me, but it really gives me food for thought and has something to teach.

1 comment:

dax248 said...

I love this book. I had to read it in high school, and just fell in love with it. I also thought it was cool that it is set in an area not to far from where I grew up, so that made it really it understand what was going and to picture what they were going through.

I think it is funny that after reading that book, I always make sure to include a huge jug of honey in our hurricane/ emergency supplies. I also make sure to include instant coffee, because that is such a high trade item in the book.

I think it is awesome that you taught this book to your youth. It is a great theme that we need to cultivate our friends and family along with our livelihood. It also isn't such a bad thing to learn basic survival skills either.