European people received Christ with fervor, leading to varied yet beautiful cultural expressions.
As we gradually traded the true God-man for a systematized corpse, the life blood of our culture became weaker and weaker until today, there is nothing left but faint memories.
The movie “Urban Cowboy” starring John Travolta is such a memory. It is a modern fairy tale, set in a time that is not so long ago, and not so far away.
There was a time when blue-collar cowboy culture had a legitimate standing in America. Women would flee the city proper in search of honky-tonks…hoping to find a cowboy to entertain for the evening. Popular songs (like “Stand by Me”) were recorded by country artists for a country crowd. (Today it’s the other way around.) The women, and the song, were included in “Urban Cowboy” without apology. The authority and legitimacy of this culture are taken for granted.
Bud (Travolta) moves to the city to find a job. He stays with his aunt and uncle in the mean-time, and they introduce him to the local country club. He meets Sissy, and the couple two-step their way into a marriage. But, as anyone with knowledge of Country music knows, their relationship was headed for rough pastures. An ex-convict ends up dividing Bud and Sissy. Pride runs wild as the married couple try to out-cheat each other, leading to a climactic bull-ride competition where Bud and his live-in girlfriend face off against the ex-con and Sissy. Will Bud’s blue-collar work ethic defeat the snake-in-the grass tenacity of the ex-con? You’ll have to watch the movie for yourself to find out!
While you watch, take special note of the way Bud and Sissy are contrasted with Uncle Bob and Corene (Bud’s relatives). As generations pass, the cultural influence of Christ gradually fades, and His beauty becomes less manifested. Aunt Corene notes at one point that Bud and Sissy “live like pigs!” Bud’s relatives represent a Christ-like stability in Bud’s life. One only hopes that he and Sissy attain the same level of stability in their relationship.
Also, Bud’s relationship with his live-in girlfriend is interesting (as noted above.) She is a wild-woman…interested in sex for pleasure, and particularly interested in cowboys. Today, the same metro-chick is interested in the gangster wanna-be. At least the girl in “Urban Cowboy” had some romanticized sense of chivalry and virtue. When women of today seek their mate in a club, they look for ghetto-conformity. What romance is left? What brand of chivalry are they looking for? If you’re going to be promiscuous, at least choose the cowboy over the gangsta! Oh how times have changed!
Honor, strength, and hard-work were glamorized in this culture. Guts, and integrity were held in high esteem. And, yes…as blasphemous as it may seem (to modern society)…when push came to shove…God almighty clearly lent strength to the main characters, and was a mighty presence in the background of the entire drama. (For example, Sissy was at pains to sleep with the convict, her conscience was really giving her a fit. In a few years, this scene may no longer make sense to the modern American…”why would she hesitate to have sex with him?” they will wonder.)
It seems that Europe has been truly looking for love in all the wrong places…and neglecting the savior that once made us so great.
(This movie gets 3 out of 5 stars on the Shotgun movie scale. It’s got a lot of cussing, and is long-winded at points. But the music is great, and the culture it displays tends to make one daydream about a better place…)