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A thought for the day from Bonnie and Clyde

Today (23rd May) is the day when Bonnie and Clyde came to their sticky end in 1934. The picture below shows their bullet-ridden car being besieged by sightseers. (The car is now on display in a casino near Las Vegas.)

Much has been written about the pair, and various films have been made. The one that sticks in my mind is with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beattie from 1967.

Why the fascination with this couple?

I suggest it is a story where the enterprise was ultimately doomed. With every killing and robbery the determination of the law to catch up with them became stronger. They thus represent the tragedy in human life. They mirror the human predicament. We can’t get it right! And we are fascinated by fallen human nature!

Bonnie had worked as a waitress but she dreamt of greater things. This could have been a possibility as she was considered to be exceptionally pretty and she had creative talent – as evidenced in her gift for writing poetry. Somewhere along the way she became disenchanted, however, and her dreams faded. One of her poems, entitled “The Street Girl”, told of a girl who longed for the days when she could have made better choices, days that she was sure could never be reclaimed.

The Christian implication? We cannot help ourselves, we need a rescuer!

At the same time the story is one of enviable freedom. The freedom of the road, the freedom to do whatever takes your fancy – though of course it wasn’t quite that simple. There was also the freedom and exhilaration of young love, bearing in mind that Bonnie and Clyde were not married and thus were flying in the face of convention.

So their wild young lives mirror a human search for what some people would call authenticity – to be truly yourself, to be free of the shackles of convention and others’ expectations. The Christian implication? We yearn for freedom – in all its aspects. So where is true freedom? And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

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United Benefice of Leighton-cum-Minshull Vernon and St. Leonard's Church, Warmingham

Deanery:  Nantwich
Archdeaconry:  Macclesfield
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