Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beverly Hillbillies and Amos - country folk in the big city

Remember the Ballad of Jed Clampett by Flatt & Scruggs?

"Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed
Poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed
Then one day he was shooting for some food,
And up through the ground come a bubbling crude...."

For the complete lyrics: click here

The first two verses opened and the last one closed the show of the 9 year long running sitcom, The Beveryly Hillbillies (1962-1971)

This really dates me, but I watched the Beverly Hillbillies on TV before they went into perpetual reruns on TV land. The humor of the show was displacement - the fish out of water - rural, simple, naive hillbillies in the big city culture and sophistication of Beverly Hills. How absurd! Or was it?

What I found so appealing about the Clampett family in the original series was that they were genuinely decent, honest, kind, polite, godly people. As a plot for many episodes, the dishonest, the greedy, the godless, the self-aggrandizing had marked this simple hillbilly family as an easy target to use and to fleece. Yet, simple goodness prevailed over the many sophisticated flavors of evil.

"Simple" as in good is always easy to grasp. What does a straight line look like? There is one answer.

It doesn't leave much to the imagination, does it? Straight can only be one way.

"Sophistication" in the worldly sense is harder to grasp. What does a crooked line look like?

There are infinite ways for the line to be crooked. Likewise, evil can be twisted in an infinite many ways. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that evil seems more appealing and intriguing? Its mystery?

I see a timeless parable in the original "Beveryly Hillbillies." In some episodes, the simple goodness and wisdom of the Clampetts seemed as a witness to the complicated, twisted sophistication and worldly wisdom of the big city.

Likewise, there is another much overlooked story of an ancient "hillbilly," who lived in the 8th century before Christ and came to the sophisticated town of Bethel. His name was Amos, a shepherd from the desert of Tekoa, who took care of sycamore-fig trees.

Read all about this simple country preacher, who came to the "Beverly Hills" of his day: The Country Preacher Who Came to Town

For our sophisticated age of the internet in the 21st century, Amos proclaims this timeless message from the One who called him:

12 For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
You oppress the righteous and take bribes
and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 Therefore the prudent man keeps quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.
14 Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.

Amos 5:12-14

Whether the fictional Jed Clampett or the Old Testament prophet Amos - both these country boys took on the sophisticated big city.


Beverly Hills

from wikipedia:
Straight line
Crooked line

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