Archive for November, 2012

Merry Christmas, says Wordmistress

Peace and parties, goodwill and great deals whirl around us in a frantic dance of celebration.christmasmusictree

Wordmistress is enchanted with Christmastime.

She is, of course, concerned about the commercialization of this holy season. She is also concerned about the elimination of crèches from public places, the excising of any mention of Christ’s birth in schools, and – but the list is lengthy. Wordmistress will have to lie down if she dwells too long on bureaucratic stupidity.

There is one thing, though, that she would like to bring to your attention. It is something we can all do to help reclaim ground lost to the (how to say this delicately) secular progressives.

To begin, Wordmistress is not terribly fond of shopping. She would rather be home with her books and her grandchildren. But when she does shop at Christmastime, she is highly sensitive to certain words.

Two of those words are “Happy Holidays.”

They seem innocuous enough. Happy Holidays. But they have become, she must sadly remind you, code words for “Let’s not say the word ‘Christmas’ with the word ‘Christ’ in it.’” A few years ago, when the War on Christmas (do not attempt to argue with WM about this) was heating up, some employers actually forbade their employees to address customers with those dreaded words, “Merry Christmas.”

Wordmistress was, as you can imagine, outraged.

While things have calmed down somewhat, one still hears “Happy Holidays” with startling frequency. And while one does not doubt the sincerity of all those goodhearted salespeople, you are encouraged to respond with a cheery “Merry Christmas!”

You may be pleasantly surprised at how often those words are repeated back to you with a smile of what appears to be relief. Ah, a bold guest. A fearless customer.

This is just one small way we may push back against the tsunami of political correctness. And we can do it with good humor and goodwill.

Wordmistress wishes you a merry and blessed Christmas season.  Kindly, but firmly.

Do you agree?

 

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Some Things I Admire About the Pilgrims

All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties and must be overcome with answerable courages.  William Bradford, governor of Plymouth colony, age 30

I’ve been thinking about the kind of people who would leave their homes, property, families, histories, get on a small ship, and set sail for the horizon. A very particular kind of people, for sure.

Imagine.

I admire their determination. Admittedly, the Puritans had a pretty severe view of righteous living. They endured scorn, financial pressure, and outright persecution from their fellow English citizens. Relocating to Holland, they eventually found financial backing to head for the New World. On September 16, 1620, 102 of them boarded the 90 foot long Mayflower. They disembarked at Plymouth on December 16th at the start of a bitter winter. Answerable courages, indeed.

I admire their motives. Before they set sail, William Bradford described their objectives. They had “. . . a great hope . . . of laying some good foundation . . . for the advancing of the Gospel of the Kingdom.  Other groups did have more mercenary purposes. But the Pilgrim’s primary focus was freedom to worship, and sharing the Gospel with native tribes – the rampant, modern-day rewriting of American history notwithstanding.

I admire their foresight in drawing up and signing the Mayflower Compact while still on board ship. It provided an orderly way of establishing the colony. They didn’t just land at Plymouth and head off willy-nilly doing their own thing. Its premise, by the way, was that government rests on the consent of the governed. Although sorely tempted to editorialize here, I’ll move on.

I admire their fortitude. Nearly half of the settlers died during that first terrible winter of 1620-1621.

I admire their treaty of peace and mutual support with the local Wampanoag tribe. It was signed the following spring and read in part:

Mayflower Compact

  • That he nor any of his should do hurt to any of their people.
  • That if any of his did hurt any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.
  • That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his.
  • If any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; if any did war against them, he should aid them.

This clear, simple, Old Testament-flavored treaty lasted for more than 50 years.  You have to admire that. A lot.

And, of course, I admire their first harvest celebration, now known as Thanksgiving. The menu included deer, duck, geese, turkey, clams, eel, fish, wild plums, leeks, cornbread, watercress, corn, squash – and other veggies, maybe. I like the idea of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag celebrating together around the table, followed by games and dancing.  Sugar was, tragically, probably not available, so it was unlikely that pie made an appearance. But with that menu, who would notice?

That first Thanksgiving was preceded by terrible suffering and followed by yet more difficulties – and answerable courages. We owe them a lot, those first hardy bands of settlers. With my precious family, I will soon be thanking the Lord for them again at our beautiful, blessed, bountiful table.

I hope you will, too.

 

Some Help If You See WORG

Oh my.

Down the road from me is a small house that sits on several acres. Rusty, a big, friendly man, lives there with his dad. He has a couple of grandkids and plants a big garden every spring.

And every summer, without fail, he urges me to come and pick tomatoes, which I love with a great and enduring love, anytime I want. So I do.

This past summer, a metal sign appeared in his garden, part of which sits smack in front of his house. It said, “worg.”  I was puzzled as I power-walked past, but as Rusty can be a pretty quirky character, I smiled and kept moving.

Now, I am a reasonably intelligent person, but it wasn’t until a couple of days later that I realized what that sign actually said.

See. I told you.

Please stop laughing, and keep reading.

My problem, as it turns out, was perspective.

So I’ve been thinking about this in recent days, following our national election. And fragments of verse at the end of I Corinthians 13 have been running through my mind.

Here are two things to consider:

  • No matter how smart we think we are, our knowledge is incomplete and fragmented. God’s is not.  For we know in part . . . but when that which is perfect has come, that which is in part will end.  Commenting on these verses, 19 c. Bible scholar C. Lipscomb writes:  “Institutions founded in Providence are left to no chance or accident as to continuance, decay, extinction. God comes into them, abides, departs, according to His will. If He numbers our days as living men, this is equally true of institutions.” Regardless how much we love our magnificent country with its magnificent Constitution, its continuance, decay, or extinction is God’s business. Our primary task is His Kingdom business. Loving our families, neighbors, and communities with Christ’s love. Every day. In some way.
  • We see “a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror.”  In Paul’s day, mirrors were polished silver or some other metal. The image would have been indistinct, at best. (And, may I say, particularly cumbersome for women.) But someday, without reflection or spin or worg, we will experience Reality. Until then, we can be cooperating with God in Kingdom work.

Finally, some thoughts from C.S Lewis in Mere Christianity:

“[God] works on us in all sorts of ways: not only through what we think our ‘religious life.’ He works through Nature, through our own bodies, through books, sometimes through experiences which seem (at the time) anti-Christian.

But above all, He works on us through each other.”

Remember, “Men are mirrors of Christ to other men. That is why the Church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important.”

There’s some perspective for us.

Do you struggle with keeping a proper perspective? In what regard?

 

My (Short) 2012 Voters Guide

The election is upon us, friends. Along with you, I am gasping for air under the mountain of candidate and issue ads. That pesky “Unknown Caller” won’t leave us alone, so we don’t answer anymore.

And now, I’m going to wade in here with a few simple thoughts about how I vote as a Christian.

There are two issues that primarily guide my choice for presidential and congressional candidates.

Sanctity of Life

In a remarkable Psalm (139), we are told that God knits us together in the womb. Violation of that holy process is an unspeakable tragedy. Life, by any logical measure, begins at conception. Ending it is God’s business. I want men and women in positions of power in this country who will stand unequivocally for the most vulnerable among us.

And, by the way, the effort to contort this issue into hatred for women is irrational. Stop already.

Sorry for the double negative here, but no candidate who does not firmly stand for the sanctity of life will get my vote. Period.

Sanctity of Marriage

Marriage is not an institution, a piece of paper, or simply an ancient practice. It is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman. It is also God’s idea. Consequently, it has been the foundation for healthy societies from the dawn of time.

Replacing the strong, protective bonds of marriage with the elasticity of cultural mores is a perilous proposition, to say the least.

And the current fad of equating a firm stand for traditional marriage with hate is irrational. Stop already.

Again, no candidate who does not firmly stand for the sanctity of marriage will get my vote. Period.

And those other issues . . .

I have found, interestingly, that candidates who support these two issues generally agree with my views on other social matters, and on fiscal, military, energy, and environmental policy.

Admittedly, when I look at the faces of my beautiful grandchildren, and consider that they are each already $218,676.00 in debt, I am outraged. Any country with a 16 trillion national debt is being badly, one might even say criminally, led.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m outraged about a long list of things right now. But when I vote, I don’t want to lose sight of the moral imperatives.

The things that matter to God.

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