John and Rob, two of my brother-in-laws, and I once had a discussion about who was the “Man of the Century?” The 20th century, that is. I said Dwight Eisenhower and John said Winston Churchill. I don’t remember if Rob put his two cents in. Well, I found this quote from Ike on Churchill: “[he] came nearer to fulfilling the requirements of greatness in any individual I have met in my lifetime. I have known finer and greater characters, wiser philosophers, more understanding personalities, but no greater man.” That’s saying a lot coming from what I consider to be one of the greatest men of the century. On the anniversary of Churchill’s birthday, take a minute to read this short article. And, if you don’t know much about him, read this entry from the Wikipedia.
My last entry was last Tuesday night after returning from a service at Church. Since then, it’s been non-stop holiday. Wednesday night at Annette’s sister Dottie’s house, Thursday; all day at my Dad’s and then over to Annette’s Mom’s that same night. Friday, back to Annette’s sister’s Margie’s house for more fun and merriment. Saturday; I had to work ’till noon, followed by a small nap and then…what else? back to Annette’s Mom’s house for dinner and more party! Thanksgiving, if you haven’t guessed yet, is big in Annette’s family. Furthermore, Annette’s family is big! She’s one of ten kids; 8 girls and 2 boys. Usually, Thanksgiving brings them all in from all over the country, but this year just some of the came in. It’s a bit more conducive to conversation when it’s not so crowded. I felt like I actually talked to a few of the out-of-towners.
Many people, whether family, co-workers or social acquaintances, don’t really know us, do they? Short conversations once or twice a year will not suffice to make and hold a relationship, will they? I, for one, have been terribly lax in the tending to these relationships. That’s one of the things I hope this outlet can help me with. Can this web-log be a substitute for a personal relationship? No, of course not. But it can compliment and maybe augment a relationship to then spur growth and fulfillment. Who knows? That service for Ruth really did move me, and I’m going to keep on trying.
Ruth died late last week. She was in her late 80′s and not doing too well as of late. After a recent scan that showed cancer in her liver and lungs, she decided not to fight anymore. One of her last wishes was not to have a funeral or service of any kind. So, the Pastor and a couple of her friends decided that an informal carry-in dinner at the church would be OK. We hoped that she would indulge us just a little.
Carolyn told the story of living next door to Ruth her entire life! Both of them grew up on Bellerive Blvd. in houses that they both would eventually live in as adults. Carolyn was the Kindergarten teacher for Ruth’s daughter. There were many more stories like that from many of the older folks; stories from 40, 50 and 60 years ago.
How can I express this? I find myself bragging about living on the same street that I’ve grown up on, or attending the same church that I was baptized in. Big freakin’ deal! Who cares? Everyone at that church has got me beat 10 times over.
Ruth was humble, quiet and giving. She never spoke a cross word about anybody else. How about that? Will people say that about me at a service that I won’t ask for? I’m ashamed to even be writing this; thinking of myself. I ashamed I didn’t go to see her before she died. I am a fool; always thinking of myself.
Goodbye, Ruth. I will always miss you on Sunday mornings. You have shown me dignity that I can barley comprehend. I will try to live a better life for having known you.
Halloween marks the beginning of the Holiday season for me. I get out my Christmas song books, throw some Christmas CDs in the car and start preparing for the season. I always want to be “ready” by Thanksgiving. By that I mean getting my voice stronger so I can sing for an hour or so without losing it. You wouldn’t think I’d have to practice the Christmas songs, but I play through them all a little each day.
This year I’m again doing the Children’s Christmas Program at church. Instead of singing we’re going to do dramatic readings from A Christmas Carol. I going to try to talk to the kids about “dramatic reading” or “acting;” in general, speaking slowly and clearly. I’ll emphasize pauses, breathing etc., using the punctuation that Dickens put in his book as our guide. Practice for that starts tomorrow.
Thanksgiving is this week of course, and it looks like a busy social calendar as usual. I remember a Thanksgiving Day, the first year I was on my own. I awoke to the notion of how truly thankful I was to have a family to visit. I had been out in the real world just a short time, but it was long enough to learn that everyone did not have the warmth and closeness with their families that I had. Family can drive you batty now and then, but don’t ever take them for granted. You’d be in bad shape without them.
A look back to an editorial by my favorite militant lesbian feminist:
(From Salon.com, Feb 8, 2001)
“When [Condoleezza] Rice, with her deft mind and fierce hawk’s eyes, briefly stepped before the microphones at [Mexican President Vincente] Fox’s ranch in Cristobal, Mexico, two weeks ago, the usual chorus broke out in my house: ‘That woman should be president!’ It’s no coincidence that Rice is a football fan who says her dream job is commissioner of the National Football League. She has seen the direct, dynamic line between military history and football strategy. (So often assailed by feminists, football, I’ve argued, is a complex analytic system that makes poststructuralism look like lumpy French porridge.) The first viable female candidate for president, whatever her party, must demonstrate deep military knowledge to win the confidence of the electorate. It’s courses in military history, not women’s studies, that ambitious young women urgently need in college.”
The term “relativism” gets thrown around too much these days. In the days following the election, relativism, as it relates to “values,” was blamed for the liberals’ loss. I think that’s what some of them would like to think, but I, for one, don’t buy it. This election was about security and terrorism and not much more.
Generally speaking we mean relativism to describe the lack of any absolute truth in reality. To generalize even more, I mean it to describe a large number of Americans who’s grandparents believed in God and had a very clear notion of right and wrong, but they no longer do. Scientism and pantheism have crept into the psyche of modern Americans and Truth has become a quaint idea that only unenlightened folks hold on to. If your Grandmother believes the Bible is Truth, well that’s fine, she’s old and they didn’t know any better in her day. Today, we know things that they didn’t know back then; right?
Yes, that’s right; we “know” things now. Like the fact that there is no absolute truth. But wait, are we absolutely sure there’s no absolutes?As the great philosopher Moe Howard once said, “Only fools are positive.”
The key out of this semantic mess is to state the quite rational argument that there exists this absolute Truth outside of us. It is not us; it is not of us; it is not in us. It exists with or without us. It is reasonable to conclude that we cannot fully grasp it. Herein lies a chasm between modern man and reason: modern man always says, “we cannot grasp it…yet.” But history, myth, poetry and reason all say, “we cannot grasp it.”
Secularists have no better friends in this world than Christians. It was the reformed Christian Church that laid the ground-work for the separation of church and state and continues to champion that cause. It is the reformed Christian Church that believes no man is without fault or closer to God than another man. It was Christians who wrote “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
It’s a distinctly Christian view that says we are not good enough to make law respecting an establishment of religion.
Sorry for the ranting, but this article really got me going. It’s good, you should read it.
I’ve been a bit flabergasted at some of the emotional responses to the election. I truly don’t know where to start. I do want to write on some of the issues that keep coming up, but I just don’t have the strength to do it now. Instead, I offer this one web link. It’s just a list of links to other articles from both sides. I hope you’ll read some of them, especially the ones you disagree with. Real Clear Politics is the web site. Enjoy.