Friday, October 31, 2014

Why We Should Celebrate Reformation Day. Officially.

Evangelicals on Reformation Day in ConcepciĆ³n, Chile.
Some Christians say we live in a Christian country. And by some definitions they might be right. Muslims or secular Swedes might read news stories about us, and in their own ways, view us as a Christian country. Many Christians believe that our country has strong Christian origins, and is therefore a Christian nation. But we do not live in a Christian nation, friends. One of the ways in which this is obvious is displayed in this list: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Inauguration Day, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day.

These are the days we as Americans agree are important (Independence Day), or that the goverment says by fiat are important (MLK Day, Washington's Birthday). These are the days that define what being an American is. Only one and a half of these holidays are Christian. And as we know, they by no means have to be. All that Americans agree on about Christmas and Thanksgiving is that it's a time to get together with family.

Here's a shot from a Wikipedia page on public holidays in the country of Chile.

There are twenty-one holidays listed; only five are regional or limited to certain states. As the image above says, about half of them are what people would recognize as Christian holidays.

But Chile is a Roman Catholic country, you say? And you say we are/were Protestant? You suggest that of course the Catholics would want to have all these feast days, like Assumption of Mary or Virgen del Carmen. Most Americans would have no reason to celebrate days like that.

All right.

What about Easter? All Saints? Reformation Day? Not as church feasts only, but as civil holidays? Regardless of what you think about celebrating special days in worship services, it must be acknowledged that nations celebrate great days in their history, and that Christian nations celebrate important days in their Christian history.
Evangelicals on Reformation Day in ConcepciĆ³n, Chile.
One of Chile's national holidays, on which businesses close, is The National Day of Evangelical and Protestant Churches. One of the objections to starting the holiday was the national loss of revenue that having a day off work would create. This is a real holiday, taken seriously (i.e. people don't work), even though it has only been in place since 2008. Although the holiday is not called Reformation Day, it is celebrated on October 31st, which is Reformation Day. Thirty percent of the Chilean people are now evangelical or Protestant, and they celebrate their history, even though they're new to it.

Now, celebrating Reformation Day does not a Christian or Protestant people make. States and municipalities in Germany and the Czech Republic and Slovenia and all over Europe formally celebrate it. Some of those places, especially in eastern or central Europe, might be experiencing revival, but most of them are post-Christian. Nonetheless, Reformation Day is a part of who they are, because it is a part of their history, even when they reject God. This ought to be a minimum for us.

How much more should we, who claim that our Christian faith is important, civilly celebrate the history of our Christian faith? When we think to ourselves, "a day like Reformation Day does not belong on the docket of civil holidays", we are complicit in the suppression of our own history as Protestants.

You will not understand the next several paragraphs unless you understand that I am speaking of civil holidays here. Yes, I am one of those Christians who believes that special Sundays and feast days ought to exist, and you can dismiss what I am saying about civil holidays on that account if you wish, but I hope that you will hear me.

We are allowing the state to tell us what our history is.

I am not suggesting that we petition and picket until the government grants us a favor by giving us days. The state can acknowledge us if it wishes to. Going back to the first paragraph of this post, this is how you can tell we're not a Christian nation: we are irrelevant.

You and I should celebrate Reformation Day and many other days of importance in our Christian heritage as if they were actually important. It is a part of who we are, and a part of the gospel of Christ. And I believe that celebrating Christian history could be a part of changing our history.

I try to like Thanksgiving because it could be, should be, and even now is, a Christian American holiay. It's Americans celebrating God moving in their story in a way that would not move Christian Chinese or Chileans in the same way.

Is it appropriate for Christians to celebrate those of their blood? Germans celebrating Germanic history and Mexicans celebrating Hispanic history? Absolutely. But how much more when there is Christian history in it! The history of a people is not the history of a state. It is easy for Americans to make that mistake. Reject it. As Christians, the history of the Church of Jesus Christ is our history. The history of the Christians who came before us is our history. The history of the family of faith is our history.

Chileans are not Germanic. They share none of Luther's blood. But it appears that many have decided to make themselves his brothers, and to share his history. You can do that, as a Christian.

Our history may be American, but it must be Christian first. Our holidays may be American, but they must be Christian first.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Walking Through New York

You might have seen the recent video made of a woman walking through Manhattan for hours. The video itself was interesting and worth watching.

Then there was this.

Buy Your Little Daughter A Slutty Costume Today!

"Hoochieween Begins at Ten". This post made it into The Huffington Post today, where I saw it. But far be it from me to send you to HuffPo. Here's the link to the original post at Suburban Turmoil. It's mostly pictures like the one below, but you do learn some interesting things over there, such as the fact that someone actually makes and sells little French maid outfits for twelve-year-olds.

No surprises here, just wanted to depress you a little more. Here's Dorothy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Working Too Much? Stressed? Consider Getting A Post-Birth Abortion

“As for post-birth abortion, I would imagine that my colleagues would think the ‘post-birth’ part was largely irrelevant, as we believe very strongly in abortion on demand, without apology, and it’s plain and simple that we should look to the woman’s morals and not shove our opinions where they, frankly, don’t belong.”

Read the story whence comes the quote here.

Post-birth abortion, i.e. slitting the throats of infants and five-year-olds and draining their blood into the bronze bowls of the gods of convenience, is justified on the grounds that infants and five-year-olds are not self-aware. People with Down's Syndrome or dementia are, of course, unselfaware and inconvenient as well, so they could get the same treatment.

Here are a couple of candidates for post-birth abortion I know. Well, I suppose I'm the candidate. These are the humans I engendered with a willing female. But circumstances change, you know.

Look at the stupid, vacuous look on the face of these juvenile humans. You can tell they haven't reached the self-awareness phase.

Here is a human transitioning from infant to juvenile. She appears to be pretending to be a mother, but this behavior is purely mimetic, and in no way reflects the spark of imagination. 

Finally, I would like to notify my father that when he does lose his mind I'm not going to be putting up with him. It will be better for me, I mean for both of us, if I slit his throat.

Is that cool, dad?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jesus Taught Us: Do The Right Thing?

This is from I searched for hymns appropriate to All Saints' Day, and found some useful suggestions. Note, however, the themes for these particular hymns. There were several others listed for All Saints', but these are the ones that shared this theme: "the righteous live by faith/do the right thing".

The important thing about the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, and the holy Church he instituted through his Apostles, is the lessons we can learn. And the lesson we learn from Jesus and all the saints who have come before us, in all their passion, suffering, and martyrdom, is this:

Do The Right Thing. Doing the right thing, boys and girls, is just like living by faith. Same thing, just about.

As I meditate upon this, I realize that the perfect All Saints' hymn has been staring me in the face this whole time. We should all learn the song "Divisionary", by Ages and Ages, which urges us to "do the right thing, do it all the time", "make yourself right, never mind them" and "we know better than that to take'em serious, still don't let'em make you bitter in the process". This is wisdom and grace for the ages, Ages and Ages.

This is the gospel of Jesus, right? Do the right thing, do it all the time. So will you inherit eternal life. Sing it out.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Why Are We Living Together Again?

Paul F. Tompkins, whose style I adore, and John Mulaney talked about many things on Tompkins' YouTube show, Speakeasy. Most of the video is about stuff I don't really care about, but so enjoyable are the two of them to watch that I watched all twenty-five minutes of the show.

At one point (right here) they discuss getting married. Tompkins said that even after living with his girlfriend for years getting married was an immediate change. They agreed that their relationship was a lot more powerful, and the word "wife" much mightier than "girlfriend".

Mulaney mentions that now he feels like he is looking after his queen. "Oh, that's my queen. I have to look after my queen."

"Wife is good. I like the word. Do you like saying the word 'wife'?"

Can I be forgiven for wondering why the heck people live together in the first place? I suppose as an arrangement for regular sex it has more dignity than hooking up, especially if you are thirty or forty years old. I don't think I'd have the emotional tools to pull it off, though. I'd either very quickly need to marry her or need to kill her.

Someone explain this to me. And don't say "practice" or "we have to make sure she's the one". I somehow think that's not how Tompkins or Mulaney would explain it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Today We Celebrate Brutus' Assassination of Julius Caesar

Brutus tried to save the public thing
Which at the time was oligarchal still.
At interest usurial he used to lend,
So he thought the families better than a king.
His freedom to exploit he did defend,
Octavian took it from him with twice the will.

That was my little ditty about Brutus' motivation for killing Julius Caesar. Hope you enjoyed it.

The legacy that Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger has, thanks to William Shakespeare, is that of being the noblest Roman of all. But he was really a politician who was angry that one man had turned out to be too good at the game they were all playing, that of consolidating power and riches. A republic such as the Romans had is only a res publica for the politicians and bankers. Brutus grew rich by lending at high interest to provincials while he was governor of Cyprus. He took advantage of the power system of which he was a part, to which he had been highborn.

Let today be a day for Christians to remember that there is no salvation in the State. We ought not to seek to be kings or senators, although we may be such things. Let us instead seek to live humbly, to do justice, and love mercy.

We live in a nation of Brutuses, of politicians who are bankers and bankers who are politicians. Do not be deceived by the fact that we are ruled by a few instead of one. There are good and evil kings, and good and evil senates. We should not be proud of our government because it is not a dictatorship, nor because it is a "democracy". Let Roman Christians love Rome, and let American Christians love the United States, but let us always remember that we belong to another Kingdom, a better Kingdom. 

The question to ask is, do Rome or the United States submit to King Jesus?

Brutus and Julius Caesar are cut from the same cloth, the fabric of powerlust, which we are not to be a part of. (Armies are more honorable than assassinations because assassins are part of the machinery they claim to fight.) And let us remember that our weapons are not the weapons of this world.

The things that we tolerate, the things we do to each other and allow to be done to others, for these things we will be judged. Do not think that we can escape judgment by changing leaders. Instead we ought to pray for mercy from God. Look away from elections, and look to worship of Jesus. That is our revolution: worship.

Micah 8

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

The voice of the Lord cries to the city—
    and it is sound wisdom to fear your name:
“Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it!
    Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
    and the scant measure that is accursed?
Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales
    and with a bag of deceitful weights?
Your rich men are full of violence;
    your inhabitants speak lies,
    and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow,
    making you desolate because of your sins.
You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
    and there shall be hunger within you;
you shall put away, but not preserve,
    and what you preserve I will give to the sword.
You shall sow, but not reap;
    you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
    you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
For you have kept the statutes of Omri,
    and all the works of the house of Ahab;
    and you have walked in their counsels,
that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing;
    so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Homemade Sausage: A Poem About Marriage

Homemade Sausage 
A Poem About Marriage

A plump wife loves her sausage well,
And loves with generous ardor,
But only if you keep her shelf
And cupboard fully lardered.

As every maiden chaste well knows,
The best to marry's a man of the land.
He'll be good when he plows, sure when he sows,
And know how to handle her lusty demands.

A salumista's daughter married
The salt of the earth, a farmer's son.
And once she over the threshold was carried
He learned what a prize of a woman he'd won.

"I have skill beyond a normal bride's,"
She said as he put her down.
"My father's delight when my mother had fried
His sausage just right could be heard 'round the town.

"When I came of age my mother's instruction
On how to make bangers I heeded full well.
Her recipes all on sausage production
I'm eager to try if you'll lay down a spell.

"The men in this county all talk without end.
It's butchers, and pigs, and who's biggest herd.
But now that I've come, seen the size of your pens,
You've got so much meat it's almost absurd.

"Yes, a plump wife loves her sausage well,
And loves with generous ardor,
But only if you keep her shelf
And cupboard fully lardered.

"I can make you kielbasa, the specialty of Poles.
I'll smoke it for days, the tenderest meat.
I'll squeeze it and grind it, then press into rolls.
The pop and the spurt when you bite is a treat.

"I'll make you chorizo, with paprika or chili,
It'll be just as spicy as you can bear.
All the fire I've got 'til your tongue is burnt silly,
And a few hours later the spice is still there.

"Speaking of spice, and the meat that you own,
The steps for andouille are simple to do.
A more salut'ry sausage has never been known,
The fat makes you strong, and the wine well will too.

"When a hot dog or wiener's made simply and right,
I know you'll be pleased that I know how to bake.
Slide it into my bun and take a big bite,
With a bit of the relish from the pickles I make.

"Yes, my relish will prove it's true:
I'm good with cucumber too."

"It's said better's the wurst when times have been hard,
Just give me one hog, we'll be happy and filled.
For even bologna, with its cubes of pressed lard
Is healthful and tasty when seasoned with skill.

"For the times that are lean I'll make winter salami;
If you must be up early it will be chipolata.
For the times that are easy a sausage romani;
If you'd like times of quiet I can make soppressata,

"Marriage, my husband, is an oath and a pledge,
With contracts and duties for wife and for man.
Be sure every day tend my garden and hedge,
Trim the bushes all regular to keep me in hand.

"A plump wife loves her sausage well,
And loves with generous ardor,
But only if you keep her shelf
And cupboard fully lardered.

"For I delight in sausage, and you delight in me,
And if you give me sausage, I will delight in thee.

"So go you out from home each day,
Give me all the meat you breed.
When you return at night to lay,
You'll know your farmer's seed
Has taken hold with winsome worth:
And yet more sausage-makers
will walk upon this earth."

As you can imagine the farmer was pleased
To hear such a speech from his spouse,
They held on to each other until they released,
Professing their faith 'til they shook the house.

The Perfection of Benjamin Franklin


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